Monthly Summary - December 2018

 Very mild and much drier than average - few frosts and not a single flake of snow to be seen

    Meteorologically December maybe the first month of winter, but not this year! Winter will have to wait.

  This December has been anything but wintry, it never came close to or even suggested that it might become so and for the first time in my records it is the very first in which not a single flake of snow has been observed.

  December has continued the theme of autumn before it, especially November - very uneventful, mild and often dull.

  Frosts were a rarity, but thankfully and despite the mildness it was also relatively dry and no-one particular day was that wet.

  MSLP of 1013.6 Mb was +1.5 Mb above the local average for the month and overall a mean minimum of 2.64°c and a mean maximum of 8.08°c saw the temperature 2.0°c above the 1981-2010 average.

  It was the warmest since 2016 and of the ten now recorded, six have been colder and three warmer. The highest maximum temperature recorded was 12.0°c (28th), the lowest minimum -3.5°c (4th).

  Rainfall of 99.4 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 111.8 mm) was 57.5% of average for 2007-17 and made it the driest December since 2016. Even with 12 years of records that percentage is still on the low side - quite simply due to the extremes of 2015!

  Of the twelve now recorded, five have been drier and six have been wetter.

  At the Met' Office site at Newton Rigg, rainfall of 76.4 mm (72.7 %) was the driest since 2016 and in a series back to 1900 December has been drier in 39 years and wetter in 77 years (2 yrs of missing data).

  A mean temperature of 5.24°c is the warmest since 2016 and in a series back to 1951, December has been warmer on 8 occasions and colder in 59 years.

  Locally, rainfall percentages were comfortably below average. The Lake District was that little bit higher than elsewhere, but still down at 85% at Brothers Water - whilst more typical percentages in the county stood around 75%.

  Figures from the Environment Agency’s rainfall sites were, (figure in brackets being the monthly average for 1961-90)   ‘Data kindly provided by the Hydrometry and Telemetry team of the Environment Agency (Penrith)’:

  Kirkby Thore ** mm (71.7 mm)

  Haresceugh Castle (Kirkoswald) 62.68 mm (85.1 mm)

  Brothers Water 259.59 mm (304 mm) and

  Orton (Shallowford) 142.4 mm (195.5 mm [average for 1967-2017])

  377.4 mm at Seathwaite Farm (Borrowdale - 382 mm [average for 1981-2010]).

  ** not yet available.


  1st - 2nd    The month began under the control of low pressure (LP) which brought grey and overcast conditions and some rain.

  Very dank and grey on the 1st with either light rain or drizzle throughout the day and this was repeated on the 2nd, albeit at 11.0°c it was fairly mild.


  3rd - 4th    The (LP) moved away NE during the 3rd and now we had a very brief blast of Arctic air.

  The month had begun mild, but this quick blast of cold air would see the maximum temperature on the 4th fall to 3.9°c and this was following a sharp frost of -3.5°c.

  However, the 3rd-4th did get to enjoy decent amounts of sunshine before the next spell of wet weather.


  5th - 9th    Unsettled, wet and windy weather would now return as a series of LP pressure systems arrived from off the Atlantic.

  The first of these arrived overnight into the 5th which was quite murky with spells of rain. The 6th saw the UK sat between the warm and cold front of a new area of LP and these brought windy and murky conditions that reduced visibility down to the level of fog.

  Wet overnight into 7th with 10.1 mm (credited back to the 6th), with an overcast, windy and showery day following; the 8th then followed suit. The 9th would begin to see a subtle change as an occluded front moved south down the UK and introduced clearer, cooler and brighter conditions.


  10th - 14th    Dry, cooler and with a little sunshine.

  Initially HP would build from the south followed by HP building over Norway ridging down - this left us at the far western edge of the HP which would allow the occasional front associated to LP in the Atlantic to drift our way and bring some cloud; however, it stayed dry.

  The wind would come in as a cool ESE'ly but the temperature did hold up just above the norm' at first until clearer skies at the end of the period brought some sunshine, but a sharp frost to start the 14th.


  15th - 23rd    Unsettled conditions returned with a succession of LP systems arriving from off the Atlantic.

  Subsequently there were several wet days and it was all damp, grey and glum.

  The first of that rain arrived just after lunch on the 15th and which with 19.0 mm would become the month's wettest day. Smaller amounts fell on the next two days before 18.1 mm fell on the 18th and which was also a windy day.

  The next few days saw further spells of rain, although it became more showery.


  24th - 31st    The rest of the month and year would see high pressure near to the UK and whilst the weather settled down, it was quite uninspiring.

  Mild and grey was the general theme - due to the position of the HP a SSW'ly breeze was prevalent and this brought the monotony of grey and mild, albeit rainfall was rare.

  However, the period started with a fine day on Christmas Eve' which started with a sharp frost and was then a fine sunny day. The HP that had built to the west of Eire would now move into Europe and leave the UK at its western edge and thus the SSW'ly airflow and the grey and mild.

  Typical day-time temperatures were just below 10°c 25-27th, but then rose higher 28-30th, a month's high of 12.0°c falling on the 28th. Even night-time temperatures remained high and indeed this whole period was the warmest part of the whole month! Numerous nights stayed above 7°c with the 30th/31st being the warmest of the month at 7.7°c.

  It was a relatively dry spell though with only the 28-29th recording any rain (each just over 1 mm) and this fell overnight on both occasions.


December Rainfall Anomalies %                                                                                    December Temp' Anomaly   



   Rainfall totalled 99.4 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 19 days of which 18 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 5.36°c      --      The Mean Max' was   8.08°c     --      The Mean Min'   2.64°c.

   We had 6 Air Frosts in the month (year 66)                --      Grass frosts totalled 13 (year 115).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 4.3°c on the 16th        to      a high of 7.7°c on the 3rd     --      with a monthly mean of 6.0°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 7.0°c on the 19th      to      a high of 8.4°c on the 2nd-6th     --     with a monthly mean of 7.7°c



   * December 2018 rainfall was 57.5% of the December average for 2008 - 2017

   * December 2018 was 1.58°c warmer than the December average for 2009 - 2017 and 2.0°c warmer than the local long term average 1981-2010

   * This makes the year of 2018 0.26°c warmer than the average for 2009-17 and with 86.3% of average rainfall for 2008-17



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The Oldest Inhabitant    An Inch Of Scotch Mist    But it's meant to be Summer (Summer 2017)  


© Darren Rogers 2010-18

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