Sunday was the first day of Meteorological Spring and gave us 6.8 hours of welcome sunshine and rainfall of 3.6mm that started just before midnight.
The wind was brisk again, gusting to a peak of 26mph.
The maximum temperature of 9.1C was 1.3C below average for March but the cloud overnight from another weather front meant an above average minimum of 2.7C (+0.4C).
Monday morning saw the hang back of cloud from the weather front easing away to the east and broken cloud arriving allowing intermittent sunshine to break through just after 08.00.
February 2020 Review
February got off to a very mild, if wet start, with temperatures well above the average on the west to south air flow but within days the wind veered into the north bringing drier but cooler weather, although short lived fog formed on the 6th and 7th.
However, the relative calm was broken as Storm Ciara approached the UK bringing gale force winds and rain. Wind maxima of 47mph and 51mph on the 8th and 9th respectively were the strongest for a month but no records were broken. Once again we did not suffer the extremes of rain or wind either, as did other parts of the country, with example 16mm of precipitation as compared to 177mm in Cumbria. It was unusual that the Meteorological Office yellow and amber warnings covered the bulk of the UK.
Britain is being deluged by “atmospheric rivers” delivered on the jet stream, the Met Office has said. Experts believe the west-east band of high-altitude winds is currently pointed directly at the UK for the first time in years, enabling a “conveyor belt” of non-stop rain. This has been exacerbated by relatively mild temperatures that have forced extra moisture into the air. It is causing streams of airborne water vapour around 300 miles wide approaching across the Atlantic before condensing into heavy rain as they hit hilly parts of Britain.
Hot on the heals of Storm Ciara was Storm Dennis that hit the area on the 15th with the wettest day of the month producing 21.5mm of rain in a day. This was combined with winds gusting to 46mph.
After the brief respite of three continuously dry days from the 4th to the 6th there followed 23 consecutive days with rain, three with totals in double figures.
The precipitation for the month was 148.2mm, which included ice pellets on the 11th, sleet on the 25th and small hail on the 20th and 29th. This was not a record but the third wettest February since my records began in 1984 with 151.0mm and 151.6mm in 1990 and 2014 respectively. There was an extremely dry February in 1986 when only 9.9mm was recorded.
Due to the moisture laden days from thick persistent cloud there were 8 days without any recorded sunshine.
The warm, moist Atlantic air meant many days were recorded with both maxima and minima temperatures above average. There were only 5 days during the month with below average maxima with the warmest day on the 23rd when the thermometer rose to a peak of 13.2C.
The mean temperature was a significant 2C above the 36-year average being the warmest February since 2002.
As regards the past winter months of December to February, the mean temperature was 1.6C above the average making it the fifth warmest I have recorded, extremes being the warm winter in 2015 and the very cold February of 2009. The rainfall total was 371mm, again not a record as 2013 produced 528mm and in 1991 there was just 94mm.