Overall, highlights include a dry January, a very mild February, the wettest June of the century, and a hot August. Another year without much of a winter. The period April 1995 to October 1997 was very dry (a rainfall deficit of 20" over the southeast). It was the driest start to a year since 1929.

January. The driest this century over England and Wales (18% of rainfall), following a dry December. On average there was less than 25 mm of rain in England and Wales - the last time this happened was 1880. The winter was dry enough to lead to fears of a water shortage. It was particularly dry in North Wales and the Northwest: Aberporth (Cardiganshire), Prestatyn (Flintshire), and Southport (Lancashire) saw just 3.0 mm of rain all month in total. It was very cold in the first ten days, nut then mild. 21 cm of snow on the Channel Islands on the morning of January 2nd, but it soon melted. Average temperatures in Scotland, but cold in the south. The Thames was frozen at Marlow (Bucks) for the first time in 50 years. Some places in the south did not rise above -3C on the 1st and 2nd. The minimum was -14.5 at Santon Downham (Suffolk) on the 3rd, -12 at Benson (Oxford) on the 2nd, and maxima beneath freezing on the south coat. Kent was badly affected by snowstorms. The first 100 hours of the month in the south were a continual frost. Thaw on the 11th, as many places in the west reached 13C on the 11th as Atlantic air moved in, and Aberdeen reached 15C on the 13th. The month was cooler than average, but not excessively so (2.5) - although it was still the coldest for ten years!

February. Unsettled, windy, and very mild (6.7). Generally wet, particularly in the northwest. Sunny in the east and dull in the west.

March. March was very warm (at 8.4, third warmest in the CET run for this century after 1957 and 1938, and indeed since 1659), and very dry, except in north-west Scotland. Some dense fogs led to major motorway pile-ups: e.g. on the 10th four people killed early in the morning on the M42. The reading of 20.8 near Snowdon on the 11th was the highest temperature recorded so early in the year since 1948. It was the sunniest Easter since the war, and the warmest since 1989, with a highest temperature of 17C in the south on Easter Monday (Easter this year fell 28-31 March).

April. Very dry across much of the country (except for northern Scotland): across the country the driest since 1984, and the warmest since 1987. The Thames was at a very low level. 21.6C at Bristol on the 9th and Gatwick on the 10th. Some frosty nights though: -7C at Glenlivet on the 29th and Chesham (Bucks.) and Rickmansworth on the 21st. Some places had no rain until the 25th; Wales then received 58 mm on the 25th. It was very sunny in the south and east; 140% of expected sunshine in London.

May. Sunny and warm; generally an anticyclonic month; very wet in eastern Scotland (the wettest since 1969 in Aberdeen). A warm spell at the beginning and then a cold snap straight aftr. 27C was recoded on the 2nd and 26C on the 3rd in London; it even reached 24C in Edinburgh and 23C in Aviemore. Cold arctic air then plunged south following a cold front on Bank Holiday Monday (5th), as temperatures fell from 27C early in the month to about 10 on the 6th. -4.1C at Benson (Oxon). There was then a notable snowfall in the north on the 6th, particularly affecting north Wales, but with some snow as far south as Derbyshire, with even Bewdley (Worcs) seeing an hour or so of snow. North Wales was covered with snow: the Vale of Clywd was particularly badly hit, with up to 15cms in places. Schools were shut, and traffic disrupted as the A55 was affected. London has 12mm of rain on the 6th, more than in March and April combined. Very thundery from the 4th-21st. 9 thunder days at Cosby (Leics.). Many storms had hail, squally winds, and there were several minor tornadoes. The first batch of storms fell mainly between the 7-13th. A storm system came north from France during the evening and night of the 16th with warm, humid air. On the 17th it was 27C in London, and there were meany violent thunderstorms in the south. Large hail in Oxford and Bucks; flooding in Bristol and Bath. The storms moved to the Midlands and north on the 18th. The storms were notable for the large area covered by very large (>20 mm) hailstones.

June. The wettest June of the century (with an average of 133.7mm of rain). The month was cool as well. The month began with a few days of warm sunshine, ending in thunderstorms from the 5th on. An intense depression on the 19th to 22nd gave rise to rain and wind. It was also very wet from the 25th to 28th. This spell was also extremely cold, with maxima of just 9-11C over a wide area. The maximum was only 11C at Bristol on the 26th. Also on the 26th, 55 mm of rain fell in three hours at Bognor, leading to flooding. Storms late in the month killed many pigeons in a cross-channel race. There was snow in the Cairngorms on the 30th, with heavy rain at lower levels, leading to flooding in Elgin.

July. Warm but changeable. The month started with heavy rain across northeast England and Scotland on the 1st, with severe flooding around Elgin, Forres, and Keith, and the Moray Firth. Kinloss recorded 76.6mm of rain in 36 hours, although more probably fell on parts of the Grampians.

August.The second hottest August on record (after 1995), and the third hottest of any month; it was the hottest of all for Eastern England. There were 19 consecutive days over 27C in eastern England, and 33C in Worcester on the 10th. Particularly noted for its high minima and unpleasantly humid nights. There were 5 consecutive days from 8th-12th recording over 30C somewhere in the country. It was very wet in the SW on the 30th: 38 mm at Cardiff.

September. Dry, warm, and sunny. 26.0 in London on the 18th, and 29.0 in St. Helier in Jersey (if that counts). Note the lateness of this date. Several places in the southeast reached 24C on the 29th.

October. Mainly dry and sunny apart from the second week. The rivers were at a very low level, as the below average rainfall that started in March 1995 took its toll. A month with an interesting mixture of temperatures. The Good Indian summer continued from September. Very sunny (apart from northern Scotland) - in some parts since 1959. 26.0 recorded on the 1st at Shoeburness (Essex) - the highest reading this late since 1985. 22.0 at Aberdeen on the 5th - the highest October reading there since 1908. There was flooding in Hampshire midmonth. It became colder briefly midmonth, before warming up again on the 15th. The weekend of 18-19th was particularly warm: 23C in London, and 25.9C at Nantmor (Gwynedd) - this is the highest temperature ever recorded so late in the year in Britain. It became much colder on the 20th, with widespread and severe frosts in the last week. It was -8.1C at Redesdale (Northumberland) on the morning of the 29th, and other low readings in the SE meant that the minima were the lowest in the south since 1931. It was also sunny, but with very low humidity (20%). Birmingham was one of the best places to be in the country this month.

November. Warm, generally wet, and rather dull, particularly in the north and west. The fourth warmest November of the century. There was a notable late warm spell from the 15-18th. Aultbea in the Highlands reached 18.8C on the 16th; then Aber (near Bangor) reached 20.7C on the 17th (the maximum actually occurring at 7 pm, nearly three hours after sunset). This is the highest temperature so late in the year for 90 years, thanks to the Fohn effect, with SE winds and cloudy skies. Kinloss reached 17.9; the minimum was then 13.6C. Flooding in Sussex on the 10th and in Aberdeenshire in the last ten days. Severe flooding in St Austell on the 26-27. Very wet around Aberdeen (246 mm; over three times the monthly average): 39 mm fell in the 30 hours ending at 6 am on the 28th.

December. Mild, wet, and changeable, with a severe gale on Christmas Eve in the west. 111 mph reported at the Lleyn Penisula; 79mph at Cosby. The Christmas Eve Storm was probably the worst since December 1993, possibly since the 1990 Burns Day Storm. It was particularly bad over Ireland, north Wales, and northwest England. Heavy rain. There was structural damage in the northwest. It was also very mild on Christmas Eve, with 15.2C recorded at Chivenor. Altogether there were four storms over this windy Christmas period. There was a pressure reading on 1045mbar at Lerwick (Shetland) on the 16th. It was also very mild on Christmas Eve in the west: 15.2C in Bristol and at Chivenor (north Devon). Quite dull in the east and north: the week before Christmas was the dullest of the year.