Review of 2012

   2012 was a poor year that saw a complete mix of weather with several notable ‘weather events’, but the main feature for which it will be remembered are: a complete summer washout and for being one of the wettest years on record.

   But, as is often the case, the detail reveals some interesting points.

   The last seven months all notched up in excess of 100 mm of rainfall, which outside of mountain locations in Cumbria I can find nothing else remotely similar locally.

   Of the twelve months, eight were wetter than average and this was after the first three months had all been drier (and also warmer) than average.

   The year was also on the cool side and slightly below average. March was warmer than April and eight out of the twelve months were colder than average, with only August (only 0.1°c above average) breaking a run of below average months from April onwards.

   And the year’s warmest day occurred outside of the summer months!

   The Met’ Office site at Newton Rigg saw a yearly mean temperature of 8.3°c (Mean Minimum of 4.7°c - Mean Maximum of 12.0°c), the average for the standard period 1981-2012 being 8.7°c (Mean Min' 4.9°c - Mean Max' 12.4°c).

   Since 1959 this places 2012 as the 29th warmest, ie: 28 years have been warmer, 20 have been colder and 5 have the same mean temperature.

   Other averages from local sites include: Shap 7.6°c, Warcop 8.0°c and Keswick 9.3°c

   Newton Rigg’s rainfall totalled 1099.6 mm (43.29 inch) - which in a record that commenced in 1900, has an average fall of 921.3 mm - This makes 2012 the 12th wettest in that period and the wettest since 2002.

   The wettest year was 1903 with 1390.9 mm (54.76 inch) although prior to that 1872 was even wetter and although Penrith had no reporting station then, rainfall at Great Strickland, Reagill and Crosby Ravensworth all exceeded that 1903 total.

   The driest was 1955 with just 627.7 mm (24.71 inch), but one curiosity is that the two driest years 1955 and 1953 are separated by the second wettest year (1954 with 1260.1 mm) in the record.

   Other rainfall totals for 2012 from other local sites include: Shap 1895.4 mm (74.62 inch), Warcop 1152.8 mm (45.38 inch) and Keswick 1711.8 mm (67.39 inch).

   Here at Maulds Meaburn the yearly mean temperature was 8.26°c and rainfall totalled 1415.9 mm (55.74 inch).

   In my five complete years of rainfall records this is the wettest, but it required a notably wet December to achieve that. But even in those five years it throws up a little surprise.

   Rain was recorded on 222 days, but 2011, 2009 and 2008 all recorded more days of rain (2010 was notably dry), but totalled less!

   However, days on which 1 inch or more of rain was recorded was 12, which compares to just 8 in 2008 and 7 in both 2009 and 2011 (2010 had none). Also 2012 now has 4 of the top 10 wettest days in my records.


   January was mild with the first few days experiencing ‘storm and tempest’ with 75 Mph recorded on the 3rd, with the month then finishing cold.

   February was a month of two halves, cold to start and then very mild. Despite that cold, which saw 16 consecutive ground frost from 28th January to 12 February, snow only lay on the ground for 2 days, but included the year’s coldest night of -8.1°c (3rd).

   But the main event was the freezing rain on the 9th. This caused severe disruption as the rain froze on impact with the ground and left a thick coating of ice on all surfaces.

   March was the month of the year and like February was also dry. High pressure dominated, giving settled conditions with the final ten days experiencing exceptional warmth and sunshine. Several temperature records were broken as the 20°c mark was broken twice, with 21.9°c on the 27th and 22 days of the month were dry!

   This saw an ‘Absolute Drought’ of 15 successive days (18th to 1st April) with no measurable rain – and then April was 1.6°c colder than March!

   April was both wet and cold with sustained periods of unsettled weather with winds from a northerly to easterly quarter.

   May was a month of contrasts. Cool changeable and with above average rainfall to the 20th and upto the 22nd it was still cooler than March. But then there followed a sudden and dramatic change to hot and sunny conditions that gave just over a week’s worth of summer conditions - unfortunately it was to prove that Summer was over even before it started! From a maximum of just 12.0°c on the 19th, we had the year’s warmest day of 26.9°c (80.4°f) on the 23rd.

   June was when it began to go really wrong. Poor and unsettled with several uncharacteristically deep depressions that from mid month gave several wet days. Only one day attained 20°c and then the 28th saw what had become quite rare in recent years, a violent thunderstorm. Between 1.30 p.m. and 2.50 p.m. 29.6 mm of rain fell and this caused some flooding locally.

   July continued the theme and like June, was especially dull and now to the year’s end, the southerly position of the Jet Stream and its effect on our weather gained much coverage.

   August was actually just warmer than the local average, but after a brief respite for the 7th – 11th that saw some sun, it became increasingly wet and thus ended one of the wettest summers on record.

   The autumn months of September – November were all colder and wetter than average. September started settled and with a little warmth before reverting to cold and wet. A brief passage of high pressure on the 22nd gave a notably early air frost and then a significantly deep depression 23rd-25th brought heavy rain. 55.8 mm on the 24th was the year’s wettest day and also the second wettest recorded at this site.

   Temperatures dipped in October with many cool nights, but the month was a complete mix as we also saw a few decent days 6th-10th. The first snowfall of the season came on the 26th and daily rainfall totals were high on the days that it did rain.

   November had a cold start and end but was milder through the main part of the month. Rainfall was consistent throughout but particularly heavy during the 22nd- 26th which again caused some localised flooding.

   December was the terrible end to a terrible year, even more so as the month itself was particularly wet at the close with the 9th and 10th wettest days at this site coming on the 30th and 28th. With 240.2 mm December is now the second wettest month at this site.



   • A Mean Minimum of 4.61°c - Mean Maximum of 11.92°c

   • During 2012 snow only lay on the ground* on 4 days and was seen to fall on 13, with sleet and hail falling on a further 12 days.

   • Fog* was recorded on 2 days with thunder heard on 6 and gales (a 10 minute mean wind speed of 29 Mph) recorded on 6 days.

   • Mean cloud* cover was 82.8% with 174 days having a 100% cover* and 6 days being totally clear.

   • Mean air pressure* was 1012.8 Mb with a low of 969.8 Mb (14th Dec) and a high of 1043.6 Mb (7-8th Feb).

   • Mean wind speed was 6.5 Mph.

   • We had 62 air frosts and 136 ground frosts with only 27 days attaining 20°c+ and one Ice day (11th Dec) when the temperature remained below freezing all day.

   • The 30 cm soil temperature had a mean of 9.7°c with a low of 1.5°c (10-11th Feb) and a high of 17.2°c (29th May)

   • * Refers to 0900 GMT – the hour of observations.

   • Met' office data is still provisional for July onwards.

   • Keswick Rainfall for November is in part estimated.


* 2012 TEMP'     8.26°c -- RAIN    1415.9 mm

* 2011 TEMP'     9.17°c -- RAIN    1305.4 mm

* 2010 TEMP'     7.42°c -- RAIN     702.9 mm

* 2009 TEMP'     8.84°c -- RAIN    1264.5 mm

* 2008 TEMP'     -- RAIN    1381.3 mm


JANUARY 2010    FEBRUARY 2010    MARCH 2010    APRIL 2010    MAY 2010    JUNE 2010    JULY 2010    AUGUST 2010    SEPTEMBER 2010    OCTOBER 2010    NOVEMBER 2010    DECEMBER 2010   

JANUARY 2011    FEBRUARY 2011    MARCH 2011    APRIL 2011    MAY 2011    JUNE 2011    JULY 2011    AUGUST 2011    SEPTEMBER 2011    OCTOBER 2011    NOVEMBER 2011    DECEMBER 2011   

JANUARY 2012    FEBRUARY 2012    MARCH 2012    APRIL 2012    MAY 2012    JUNE 2012    JULY 2012    AUGUST 2012    SEPTEMBER 2012    OCTOBER 2012    NOVEMBER 2012    DECEMBER 2012    SUMMER 2012   

   © Darren Rogers 2012

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