Monthly Summary - February 2015

   Overall February was a reasonable month that was both colder and drier than average and also the first month since August 2013 to be colder than average. A very dry, cold and quiet first 12 days with a north-westerly airflow was replaced by milder and unsettled conditions and a more typical south-westerly flow that brought rain on most days. There was a brief wintry interlude during the 21st-24th, but which wasn't disruptive in any way.

   February brings a fairly average winter to a close, especially for temperature, whilst rainfall has fluctuated locally from just above average up to 186% of normal at Seathwaite.

   MSLP of 1014.3 Mb was overall very much average for February at just +0.4 Mb above normal, with high pressure dominant in the first half of the month, being replaced by those unsettled conditions in the second half.

   Overall a mean minimum of 0.09°c and a mean maximum of 5.71°c saw the temperature 0.7°c below the 1981-2010 average, making it the coldest February since 2013. The highest maximum temperature recorded was 10.8°c (15th), the lowest minimum -6.8°c (3rd).

   At Newton Rigg (Penrith) in a complete series back to 1954, a mean temperature of 3.05°c makes this February the 37th warmest, ie: 36 have been warmer and 25 colder.

   Rainfall of 75.4 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 84.9 mm) made it the driest February since 2013 and here at Maulds Meaburn was 85.4% of average for 2008-14. This was fairly typical at other local sites, but mountain sites in the Lake District were markedly above average. At Newton Rigg (43.8 mm - Met' Office gauge) in a series back to 1914, 36 February's have been drier (1 year of incomplete data).

   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 31.2 mm (48.7 mm)

   Brothers Water 246.45 mm (192 mm)

   Nunwick Hall 37.0 mm (51.0 mm) and

   359.2 mm at Seathwaite Farm (Borrowdale - 220 mm).


  1st - 3rd    The month started with the snow left over from January and which would hang around for several days and it certainly remained cold, but also dry. Low Pressure (LP) to our east gave a brisk north-westerly flow on the 1st, but which was a beautiful sunny day and then with the LP broadening out on the 2nd, the winds fell light and the temperature dipped. The 2nd was the month's coldest day with a maximum of just 0.6°c followed by a very hard frost overnight 2nd/3rd of -6.8 °c (19.8°f) and which was the month's coldest minimum.


  4th - 12th    High pressure (HP) then became dominant, building from the Atlantic and slowly drifting east towards the UK and reaching 1040.9 Mb on the 7th. This saw the dry, settled if cold conditions continue and despite becoming gloomy at the end of the period, it was generally bright.

   The 4th started with another hard frost of -6.2°c and which had seen the odd light snow shower overnight and a generally sunny day followed. Overnight frosts were common with only the 7th missing out, but which was foggy all day, turning to freezing fog in the evening. But then the 8-9th were both glorious sunny days and it wasn't until the HP was directly over the UK (10th), that it turned overcast and somewhat misty, but with a slight recovery in the temperature.

   The first 12 days of the month had only recorded 0.1 mm of rain, but now it would gradually become less settled and milder.


  13th - 15th    The first rain (4.0 mm) of the month came on the 13th as an area of (LP) in the Atlantic tracked south and moved north-east, making for a murky and damp day (13th).

   The pressure gradient then slackened as the LP moved away 14th, which was still an overcast day, but with the 15th being a perfect sunny, almost spring-like day and which reached a month's high of 10.8°c (51.4°f).


  16th - 17th    An occlusion connected to LP off the far east coast of Greenland, gave 5.6 mm of rain overnight into the 16th, with the day slowly improving as HP tried to ridge in from the SSW. We were only ever at the far northern extent of this ridge, which saw a brisk south-westerly wind over the top edge.


  18th - 19th    The HP to our south-east drifted away over the continent allowing a frontal system to bring a spell of rain (7.7 mm) on the 18th and overnight into the 19th on a strong wind as the associated cold front cleared through.

   The 19th saw that cold front slowly clearing and after a dark and damp morning it was only late afternoon before it brightened up.


  20th - 21st    Clear of any frontal systems the 20th and 21st saw us sat in an unstable W-WNW'ly flow, with a greater emphasis on brighter conditions, especially the 21st as the pressure gradient slackened slightly.


  22nd - 28th    The final week of the month was generally unsettled with frequent spells of rain. There was a wintry interlude 21st-24th followed by a mix of milder then cooler conditions.

   A vigorous area of LP in the Atlantic on the 22nd with its associated frontal system controlled the weather through to the 24th. This saw a spell of snow either side of lunch on the 22nd followed by heavy rain in the afternoon, giving 18.4 mm and making it the month's wettest day.

   In an unstable westerly flow, the next two days saw frequent showers of hail some of which were heavy, but milder air was introduced by the passage of a warm front on the 25th and the temperature rose to 9.0°c although the day was somewhat murky.

   The 26-27th had a fresher feel about them in clearer air and we saw some decent sunny intervals before the month ended on a damp and windy note with a frontal system arriving in the evening of the 28th.


   Rainfall totalled 75.4 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 13 days of which 8 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 2.90°c      --      The Mean Max' was   5.71°c     --      The Mean Min'   0.09°c.

   We had 10 Air Frosts in the month (year 22)                  --      Grass frosts totalled 21 (year 42).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 2.2°c on the 4-6th        to      a high of 5.2°c on the 19th     --      with a monthly mean of 3.8°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 5.0°c on the 6-13th     to      a high of 6.0°c on the 28th     --     with a monthly mean of 5.4°c



   * February 2015 rainfall was 85.4% of the February average for 2008 - 2014

   * February 2015 was 0.65°c colder than the February average for 2009 - 2014 and 0.7°c colder than the the local long term average 1981-2010


 * The 3 month mean for December/January/February 2014-15 is                    TEMP'     3.46°c         --          RAIN    370.4 mm

* December/January/February 2013-14 was TEMP'     5.06°c -- RAIN    725.9 mm

* December/January/February 2012-13 was TEMP'     2.87°c -- RAIN    379.3 mm

* December/January/February 2011-12 was TEMP'     3.93°c -- RAIN    308.6 mm

* December/January/February 2010-11 was TEMP'     1.73°c -- RAIN    341.6 mm

* December/January/February 2009-10 was TEMP'     1.20°c -- RAIN    154.0 mm

* December/January/February 2008-09 was     -- RAIN    346.8 mm

* December/January/February 2007-08 was     -- RAIN    472.4 mm


                 2014-15       2013-14        2012-13       2011-12        2010-11       2009-10        2008-09        2007-08

Air Frosts           32             7            48            30             40           57                                  

Ground Frosts        62            34            64            59             56           81                                  

Ice Days              0             0             3             0             13            6              1                   

Laying Snow          12             1            11             3             23           32             16              3    

Falling Snow         25            13            26            19             20           39             14                   


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   © Darren Rogers 2015

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