Monthly Summary - February 2017

 Warmest February yet recorded at this site - unduly mild and until the end of the month, relatively dry, before turning unsettled.

  February was a notably mild month with very few frosts and barely anything of a wintry flavour. Low pressure was the more frequent visitor during the month, but without ever becoming truly dominant until late in the month when 'Storm Doris' hit the UK, although the main impacts of that storm where felt south of Cumbria. The 8-12th saw a brief cold snap when pressure was at its highest, but it was quite brief and not at all notable.

  Otherwise winds from a south or SW'ly quarter were dominant and thus resulting in the mild conditions, especially at the start of the month and broadly from the 15th onwards and in particular the 18th-21st. Rainfall whilst being a frequent visitor was generally light and inconsequential upto the 21st, but a run of wet days during the 22nd-26th brought the month's total to something approaching average.

  MSLP of 1010.4 Mb was -3.5 Mb below the local average for February and a demonstration that low pressure never really dominated. However, when low pressure was dominant during Storm Doris, the main centre of the system passed west-east over the north of England, so whilst pressure fell sharply, the main thrust of the wind and rain avoided us to the south.

  Overall a mean minimum of 2.85°c and a mean maximum of 7.49°c saw the temperature 1.6°c above the 1981-2010 average and it was the warmest yet recorded at this site. The highest maximum temperature recorded was 12.5°c (19th), the lowest minimum -2.2°c (6th).

  Rainfall of 78.6 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 95.4 mm) made it the driest February since 2015 (the 5th wettest of the 10 recorded) and was 87.9% of average for 2008-16. Locally, rainfall percentages were typically just above normal, but within the Lake District just over 130% of average.

  At the Met' Office site at Newton Rigg, 73.6 mm (99%) made it the driest February since 2015 and in a series back to 1900 there have been 73 drier and 43 wetter (with 1 year of missing data). In a series back to 1954 a mean temperature of 5.0°c is the warmest since 2011 with 55 having been colder, 7 warmer and 1 having the same mean temperature.

  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 48.6 mm (48.7 mm)

  Haresceugh Castle 63.69 mm (56.6 mm)

  Brothers Water 255.47 mm (192 mm) and

  369.0 mm at Seathwaite Farm (Borrowdale - 272 mm [average for 1981-2010])



  Here at Maulds Meaburn the winter of 2016-17 has, on the whole, been quiet, dry and mild - overall not too bad.

  However, for those of us who do like something resembling winter, then it was a write off. Snow only fell on 9 days and only lay on the ground on one (to a depth of at least 1 cm at 0900 GMT) - the lowest frequency in my records.

  In what was a dry winter, Maulds Meaburn recorded just 215.6 mm of rain (Crosby Ravensworth 244.9 mm) which is the second driest in my records to that of 2009-10. That 215.6 mm represents just 48.8% of the rainfall for those 9 previous winters.

  A mean temperature of 4.89°c is the coldest since 2014-15, but the 2nd warmest of the eight now recorded and is 1.54°c warmer than the average of those previous seven.

  At Newton Rigg rainfall totalled 181.6 mm and it had a mean temperature of 4.8°c. In comparison to the 1981-2010 averages this represents 64.7 % of winter rainfall and is 1.4°c warmer than average.

  This makes the winter of 2016-17 the 22nd driest in a series back to 1900-01 (1 yrs of missing data) and in a series back to 1953-54 it is the 7th warmest, with 1 year having the same mean temperature. In the much longer series back to 1900-01, but with 8 missing years, it would be the 8th warmest.


  1st - 7th    The month started unsettled and especially mild in a S-SSW'ly with a series of low pressure (LP) systems passing over or nearby to the UK. However, rainfall totals were light with little falling during daylight hours, indeed, the transitional days (3rd and 5th) between the frontal systems remained dry throughout daylight hours. The general order was one of light rain or showers, some of those showers on the morning of the 4th being of sleet.

  Notably both the 1st and 2nd were mild with maximum temperatures over 10°c before the rest of the period saw temperatures slip away to 5.1°c by the 5th.

  High Pressure ridged in from the south on the 6th to give the first and coldest frost of the month of -2.2°c (28°f) and a sunny morning before a frontal system arrived from tea-time that brought a spell of rain during the evening and overnight. Those fronts would clear during the 7th with HP once again ridging in.


  8th - 13th    High Pressure (HP) would then ridge strongly over the UK, initially from the SW (8th), but then for the rest of the period from Norway where the central pressure on the 9th stood at 1051 MB. This brought a period of more settled weather and it was also cooler with an E'ly flow, becoming NE'ly at the end of the period.

  1200 Hrs 8th -   the UK at the centre of two areas of high pressure ridging in from the SW and NE  


  However, a weak frontal system would become trapped within the HP causing the days to be grey, cloudy and cold with just the occasional few grains of snow, although any rain was very light and infrequent.

  The 9+10th were both bitter cold days, the 9th only attaining 2.0°c (35.6°f), the month's lowest maximum, with the 10th only fractionally warmer. The 9-11th all saw a slight air frost as well.


  14th - 19th    Whilst HP remained over Europe a more mobile W'ly flow began to develop and it started to become that bit milder with the occasional front bringing some rain, but still rainfall totals were inconsequential.

  Initially during the 14-15th with LP sat in Biscay, we kept the ESE'ly flow, before the return to a mild SSW'ly as that LP slowly trudged north to the west of Eire.

  The HP over Europe then ridged into the SE of the UK, holding back any fronts, although they would still trail over the northern half of the UK and hence the days whilst becoming milder, experienced a lot of cloud, murk and some drizzle. The 19th managed to avoid the murk, although remained cloudy throughout and at 12.5°c (54.5°f) was the month's warmest day.


  20th - 28th    It then generally became unsettled through to the end of the month with rain more frequent and heavier than earlier in the month. Still mild at first, it then slowly became a little bit more seasonal.

  The 20th saw a number of fronts pass over the UK and the mild S'ly flow saw the temperature remain above 12°c with rain either side of mid-day. The 21st was a day of drizzle, becoming quite windy as the day progressed as a frontal system moved quickly west-east over the UK.

  The 22nd was bright and breezy behind the fronts of the 21st and ahead of 'Storm Doris', Cumbria avoiding the worst of the weather which impacted to our south. Doris developed and deepened rapidly just of the west coast of Eire, its centre passing through Cumbria with pressure falling to 974 MB.

  It was wet overnight 22nd-23rd with 12.9 mm credited back to the 22nd and 5.1 mm falling in spells during the 23rd, but the wind only gusted to 46 mph.


Storm Doris - Midnight 23rd (left) and then Mid-day 23rd         -          shows how quickly the storm built and deepened                            



  Doris came and went very quickly, behind which the 'Azores High' ridged north to give a day of sunny spells on the 24th, but again only ahead of the next frontal system from off the Atlantic that arrived late in the evening. This gave 8.5 mm of rain credited back to the 24th, with the 25th being a wet and windy day, rainfall totalling 9.1 mm.

  The 26th would become the month's wettest day (18.1 mm) with the rain and wind lasting through to the early evening, the front bringing that rain initially having a slower moving wave on it as it approached the UK.

  The month then finished on a quieter note in a slack pressure gradient but still very much with LP surrounding the UK. Cloudy but bright was the general theme with the odd rogue shower, although with clearer skies overnight 27-28th the month ended with a slight air frost of -1.5°c.


    Mid-day 28th -   the UK surrounded by areas of low pressure, but within a slack pressure gradient  


February Rainfall Anomalies %                                                                                    February Temp' Anomaly   



   Rainfall totalled 78.6 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 19 days of which 12 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 5.17°c      --      The Mean Max' was   7.49°c     --      The Mean Min'   2.85°c.

   We had 5 Air Frosts in the month (year 20)                --      Grass frosts totalled 14 (year 33).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 3.9°c on the 11-13th        to      a high of 6.9°c on the 22nd     --      with a monthly mean of 5.3°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 5.8°c on the 1st and 14-16th      to      a high of 6.7°c on the 25th     --     with a monthly mean of 6.2°c



   * February 2017 rainfall was 87.9% of the February average for 2008 - 2016

   * February 2017 was 1.73°c warmer than the February average for 2009 - 2016 and 1.6°c warmer than the local long term average 1981-2010




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