December 2018 did not materialise as a typical winter month as the mean temperature was 2.1C above average, the third warmest since records began here in 1984. The record was set in 2015, which was a remarkable 5.5C above average.
The month began with warm air from a southerly direction. This meant that temperatures were 5C above average with the highest occurring on the 1st, with a maximum of 12.8C. In contrast the 14th was a very cold day when the thermometer struggled to each just 2.5C being 5.3C below the average.
We experienced very few air frosts, just 4, when the average over the past 34 years is 11. The coldest night was in the early hours of the 14th with a minimum of -2.6C. The record frost was recorded on the night of 20th December 1999 with a bone chilling -13.1C.
December started with many wet days although the second and fourth weeks were predominantly dry. The rainfall total was 112.9mm, which was 22.9mm above the 34-year average. It was only the fourth above average month in 2018. On the 18th, the wettest day in the month, 17.6mm of precipitation was recorded. However, there were 13 totally dry days.
Although at the end of the month there was a succession of gloomy days, the result of mild, moist air from mid-Atlantic, we did enjoy 64 hours of sunshine. There were 9 days when the sun did not shine, mainly towards the end of the month.
The year 2018 was the 4th warmest since records began here in 1984 being 0.9C above the 34-year average. With climate change ever in the news it is interesting to note that in order of warmth these years occurred in 2011, 2014, 2006 and 2018 respectively.
The annual rainfall total was 783mm, which was 62mm below the 34-year average. The extreme years were in 1996 that only produced 594mm and the very wet year of 2002 with 1146mm.
January saw three storms affect our weather with Eleanor at the beginning that brought 52mph winds and 14.7mm of rainfall, mid month David arrived and later we felt the effect of Fiona with wind gusting to 47mph and 17.3mm of rainfall on the 21st.
February was notable for the two cold spells at the beginning and end of the month. There were 14 nights with an air frost that gave a minimum of -9.8C on the 28th. The wind veered into the northeast during the last week bringing snow on 3 days that followed snow showers on the 6th and 9th.
Storm Emma arrived early March with winds gusting to 37mph. It was also the wettest month of the year with a total of 130.9mm when the average was 57.4mm. Snow fell on the 1st and 2nd also from the 17th to 19th.
Spring suddenly arrived in April with a mean temperature 1.5C above average. There were 4 days with temperatures in the 20s and a maximum of 26.5C on the 19th. It was the fourth wettest month in 2018.
May began with very warm days, the hottest occurred on the 7th with a maximum of 28.1C that followed a late air frost when the thermometer dropped to -0.2C on the 1st.
Hector brushed past the UK in June that gave breezy early summer days with wind gusts up to 23mph mid month. However, it was a very dry month with just 5.3mm of rainfall when the average was 54.5mm, there were 22 dry days. In total we enjoyed 235 hours of strong sunshine with 16.88 hours on the 27th.
July we remember as a hot month with a mean temperature almost 3C above average. There was only one day when the thermometer did not reach 20C. The peak temperature occurred on the 26th with a maximum of 30.4C. It was also a much drier month, less than half the average rainfall with just 25mm. In all we enjoyed 249 hours of strong sunshine.
In August the fine weather continued with a maximum of 29.3C on the 5th. The mean temperature was 0.8C above average. On only two days did the sun not shine. 15 hours of sunshine were enjoyed on the 5th. A very wet day broke the pattern on the 26th with 18.8mm of rain.
September proved a relatively dry month with just 48mm of rainfall when the average was 62mm. The first week began with temperatures in the 20s but a deep depression nearby on the 19th and 20th gave winds peaking at 40mph and 39mph respectively.
October again brought us below average rainfall, just 44.6mm with 22 totally dry days. A record cold day occurred on the 27th when the thermometer resolutely refused to rise above 5.2C when it should have been nearer 15C. The wind picked up mid-month rising to 40mph and 38mph on the 12th and 13th respectively.
November was another mild month with the mean 0.7C above average. Storm Diana was close by towards the end of the month that again brought strong winds gusting to 47mph on the 29th. There were 6 air frosts dropping to -2.0C on the 2nd. This month reversed the trend of below average monthly rainfall totals with 96.5mm.
December review is above.