Monthly Summary - January 2012

   January was fairly benevolent as a whole, reasonably mild, with an absence of snow and whilst rainfall was still plentiful we did have some drier spells and at long last we even got a glimpse of the sun! It was only the mildest January locally since 2008 and certainly milder than those of 2009-11. With a mean temp' of 3.84°c it was in the region of 0.6°c above average.

   But the New Year had started wet and windy as a succession of major Atlantic storms ripped through, giving some extremely windy conditions before the month generally calmed down.

   There were two cold snaps in the month, 13-17th and then from the 27th to the month's end, but it was fairly short lived and not that excessive; although ground frost (total 20) was fairly frequent.

   The month started with 'Storm and Tempest' an apt term. New Year's Day saw unstable Polar Maritime air bring rain throughout the day and it also felt cool. This continued into the 2nd but after early cloud had cleared the day was one of sunny spells.

   The storm that arrived overnight on the 2nd/3rd was significant and would be classed as 'notable'. An area of low pressure (968 Mb) to the west of the UK deepened and moved towards Scotland. The associated weather fronts brought rain of 28.0 mm by morning (month's wettest day) and at 0700 Hrs a gust of wind measuring 75 Mph was recorded; a new record for this site (106 Mph on Gt. Dunn Fell). Whilst the rain abated, the wind did not and the day saw gale force winds. But there was still more to come!

   The 4th was a showery day behind the weather fronts of the 3rd, but during the evening the gales returned. Yet another area of low pressure (966 Mb) advanced from the Atlantic, passing Shetland and the associated cold front brought gusts to 65 Mph (112 Mph on Gt. Dunn Fell) and another 9.1 mm of rain.

   We had taken a true battering over the course of these few days, but at least now we entered a quieter phase. There was still a dominant westerly flow, but the rainfall eased and whilst generally cloudy there was more in the way of brightness. Temperatures in the period 5-9th were quite reasonable but a persistent and brisk W-NW'ly had a cooling effect.

   High pressure had been building in Biscay and slowly nudging north and this would control our weather through to the 17th (apart from the 12th). The 10th saw the HP centred over NW France and it drew up moist and mild SW'ly air which gave cloudy skies and some drizzle. That warm air gave a temperature of 10.8°c (51.4°F) on the 11th, this being the month's warmest day. The 11th was also a little brighter and soon we would have the first sustained period of sunshine since the end of September, but with the brighter conditions came colder temperatures and a run of frosty nights.

   But first the 12th saw a cold front pass through in the early hours bringing gusty conditions, although only a little rain, but behind this it became much fresher in a NW'ly flow. The HP over Biscay, which had been squeezed south by that cold front now ventured north and became established over the UK and settled weather ensued. The HP would slowly migrate east, but the 13-18th all saw air frosts with -4.9°c (23.2°F) overnight 14-15th the month's coldest night. The 17th would see -4.2°c and the month's coldest ground frost of -9.4°c but we had four successive sunny days and whilst there was some high (Cirrus) cloud at times that occasionally made the sun 'milky white', it was lovely and very much overdue.

   That HP moved into Europe on the 18th and now the period through to the 26th saw the return of a westerly flow and milder, cloudier conditions and the subsequent spells of rain. However, whilst the temperatures suggested mildness (typically 8-9°c), the briskness of those westerly winds had a chilling effect.

   The 19th saw us in between HP to the south and LP near Iceland that gave a brisk westerly and after a morning of sunny spells the afternoon saw an increasing amount of blustery showers (7.9 mm) brought on numerous trough lines.

   Whilst the 20th (7.7 mm) and 24th (3.7 mm) were wet virtually throughout, the rest of this period was changeable with showers (some of sleet) interspersed with sunny intervals as weather systems off the Atlantic moved east.

   A complex ALP to the north of the UK that had multiple trough lines circulating around it brought wintry showers on the 27th, higher ground above 250m seeing that fall mainly as snow (snow on the ground at Shap, but not at this site which is just that bit lower) and the temperature was pegged back to 3.5°c. But now the month was to end settled and cold as high pressure slowly became established.

   The 28th saw a weak ridge of HP building and whilst some locations sat in fog for most of the day, it arrived at this site late a.m., which after a fine and frosty start was responsible for holding the temperature down at just 0.4°c (32.7°F), the month's coldest day. In mid morning sat in a hazy sunshine on the Tebay to Appleby road the inversion along the A66 corridor was seen to good effect with fog sat in the valley and a snow bound Cross Fell above this basking in sun and clear skies.

   That HP sat over the USSR and at 1060 Mb was very intense. It extended a ridge eastwards over this UK and now we had a cold icy blast that gave quite keen air frosts from the 28th and these conditions would last into February.

   The 30th was the better of those days as we enjoyed some decent sunshine, but the 29th and then the 31st were both cloudy days. The 29th had seen weather fronts nearby to the west and as these met the cold continental air the extra moisture in the air brought that cloud. The murk on the 30th now caused by the passage of that continental air being warmed from below as it passed over the North Sea and collected extra moisture as it did so.

   Whilst we did have 11 air frosts during two brief cold spells and the storm and tempest at the very start of the month, as a whole there wasn't too much for weather watchers to get excited about as the winter meekly slipped by without any decent winter weather - but most would be quite happy with it being that way.


   Rainfall totalled 90.7 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 18 days of which 13 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 3.84°c+         --      The Mean Max' was   6.78°c   --    The Mean Min'   0.9°c.

   We had 11 Air Frosts in the month (year 11)      --      Grass frosts totalled 20 (year 20).

   The 30 cm soil temp ranged from 6.0°c on the 2nd      to      2.6°c on the 18th      --      with a monthly mean of 4.5°c



   * January 2012 rainfall was 57.4% of the January average for 2008 - 2011

   * January 2012 was 1.43°c warmer than January 2011      --      3.49°c warmer than January 2010      --      0.67°c warmer than 2009

  * The 3 month mean for November/December/January 2011-2012 is              TEMP'    5.47°c         --          RAIN    379.7 mm

* November/December/January 2010-2011 was TEMP'    1.42°c -- RAIN    295.0 mm

* November/December/January 2009-2010 was TEMP'    3.02°c -- RAIN    446.8 mm

* November/December/January 2008-2009 was TEMP'    -- RAIN    402.5 mm

* November/December/January 2007-2008 was TEMP'    -- RAIN    447.9 mm

 + Met office figures for January -- NW England/N. Wales had a mean temp' of 4.8°c, this being +1.3°c warmer than the reference period 1971-2000 (+1.6°c warmer than reference period 1961-90)


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   

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