Monthly Summary - December 2019

 Warmer and drier than average - however a poor month

    The very start and end of the month was really rather pleasant ... it just left a lot of poor weather in between when low pressure was dominant and consequently the weather wet and unsettled.

  On the whole though, the month was relatively quiet with nothing out of the ordinary and certainly there was nothing wintry to contend with. However, it was often grey and dull and whilst the month did finish warmer than average, it never felt that mild, although there were no frosts from the 4th through to the 30th.

  After a very cold start to the month with the only 'Ice Day' of the year, low pressure was then dominant for the vast majority of the month. Rain was recorded on every day during the 4-27th before weak high pressure brought a more settled end to the month. It was also the seventh consecutive month to exceed 100 mm of rain, but with few really wet days during the month it was more a case of a steady accumulation. Whilst the month was drier than average, it should be remembered that even with 13 years of records, December's rainfall average is still highly skewed due to a single wet year ...2015 and Storm Desmond.

  MSLP of 1005.1 Mb was -7.0 Mb below the local average for the month and overall a mean minimum of 2.15°c and a mean maximum of 7.23°c saw the temperature 0.75°c above the ten year average for this site.

  It was the coldest since 2017 and of the eleven now recorded, six have been colder and four have been warmer. The highest maximum temperature recorded was 11.1°c (5th, 7th and 19th), the lowest minimum -7.2°c (1st and 2nd).

  Rainfall of 125.4 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 149.6 mm - Castlehowe Scar 159.4 mm) was 75.1% of average for 2007-18 and made it the wettest December since 2015 - of the 13 now recorded five have been wetter and seven have been drier.

  During the month there was: one 'Ice Day' (1st), snow fell on two days (14-15th) and hail fell on two days (11th and 14th). The maximum gust of wind was 56 mph on the 10th.

  At the Met' Office site at Newton Rigg, rainfall of 125.8 mm (119.8%) was the wettest since 2015 and in a series back to 1900 (2 yrs of missing data) December has been wetter in 33 years and drier in 84.

  A mean temperature of 4.91°c is 1.5°c above average for the month and in a record back to 1952 December has been warmer in 15 years, colder in 52 and with one year being the same.

  Locally, rainfall percentages have hovered either side of average, but more typically just above, with the Lake District particularly wet, Seathwaite Farm having 140.2% of its average.

  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) 91.62 mm (85.1 mm)

  Brothers Water 385.96 mm (304 mm) and

  Orton (Shallowford) 203.0 mm (195.5 mm [average for 1967-2018])

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

  ** not available due to faults with the gauge


  General Synoptic Report for the Month

   With high pressure (HP) sitting to the west of Eire, but extending over the UK at the beginning of the month, it was a very cold start to the meteorological winter, during which the 1st remained below freezing all day to give the year's only 'Ice Day'.

  The month opened with a minimum temperature of -7.2°c (19.0°f) and during the morning it was fine and sunny, if very cold. From lunch-time a thick fog descended and would stay for the rest of the day and this ensured that the temperature would rise no higher than -0.4°c. The 2nd would also see an overnight low of -7.2°c, but now the HP was to the south of Eire and the winds would back W'ly. This brought a cloudier, but milder day.

  And there ended the cold spell! Now low pressure would become the dominant driver of our weather for virtually the rest of the month. However, temperatures were often disappointing with no great mildness on offer, but rainfall was frequent, at times heavy and it all became a little grey, dark and dull.

  Drizzle and light rain was the order 4-6th with the first heavy bout of rain coming on the 7th (14.7 mm) as a deep area of LP in the north Atlantic pushed fronts towards the UK late afternoon and evening. Behind those fronts the 8th was a showery, blustery day and a transient area of HP pushing up from Spain brought some sunshine for the 9th. However, this was a quiet day before a more sustained period of unsettled weather, starting with the 10th - the year's wettest day.

  Seathwaite Farm in the Lake District was especially wet during the 5-10th during which time it had daily falls of: 135.0 (5th), 71.2 mm (7th) and 80.0 mm (10th).

  A deep area of LP centred Northern Iceland swept its associated frontal system over the UK with heavy rain arriving at 0600 Hrs. That rain (33.8 mm) would become heavy from 1000 hrs through to tea-time, easing back until petering out in the early evening. Whilst the 10th had been rather grim, the temperature had risen to 10.8°c, but the 11th in a brisk and cool wind would only manage 4.6°c with frequent showers.

  And it remained cool and unsettled with a mixed bag of showers, some wintry, with a few brighter moments through to the 18th. Whilst there were no frosts, the nights were still cool and day-time temperatures were in the range 4-6°c.

  LP was in charge and at times multiple areas of LP surrounded the UK, but likewise at times the northern part of the UK sat within a slack pressure gradient.

  The 18th heralded a change to milder conditions with an area of LP in the Atlantic arriving during the evening and bringing a wet night. After further rain later on 19th, the final third of the month would now become very ... grey and murky.

  Dull, dark, grey, murky, misty and overcast - whichever combination of the six you may choose the month had an uninspiring end. However, rainfall totals were insignificant and we even had a few dry days at the close of the month; from the 20th only 9.3 mm was added to the final total. Although slightly above average, temperatures were nothing special, with the final few days of the month being somewhat of a contradiction as despite a S'ly airflow the briskness of the wind managed to make it feel a little cool.

  Along with the murk, drizzle was a virtually repetitive theme as well in this final period. From the 28th HP over Germany held LP in the Atlantic at bay and introduced that southerly airflow which saw the temperature nudge up to around 9°c, although it didn't necessarily feel that warm.

  And then fine, sunny and rather glorious day to end the month/year/decade! Under that HP the day started with a frost, but then the day was just lovely.


December Rainfall Anomalies %                                                                                    December's Temp' Anomaly   



   Rainfall totalled 125.4 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 24 days of which 18 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 4.69°c      --      The Mean Max' was   7.23°c     --      The Mean Min'   2.15°c.

   We had 5 Air Frosts in the month (year 55)                --      Grass frosts totalled 15 (year 117).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 3.7°c on the 3rd        to      a high of 6.9°c on the 8th     --      with a monthly mean of 5.1°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 6.5°c on the 20th      to      a high of 8.1°c on the 1st     --     with a monthly mean of 7.1°c

   This makes the year of 2019 0.12°c warmer than the average for 2009-18 and with 99.9% of average rainfall for 2007-18



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


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