Overall quite an exciting year, with a record-breaking warm October and sunny December. It was quite a thundery year in parts of eastern England; parts of Essex and the most thunder days since 1983. It was a cold, snowy winter in Scotland.
The period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001 is the wettest on record (with 1339 mm), easily beating the previous wettest 12 month period record of 1285 mm (January to December 1872), an excess of 45%. Such an excess has a return period of 500-750 years! In the SE the excess was een greater: London had an excess of 63%, and East Sussex more than 100%. At the same time, the north and west of Scotland were drier than average. It was however the sunniest winter since 1907.
All the months from May to August inclusive were warmer than average - the first time this has happened since 1989. It was a record-breaking late August Bank Holiday.October was the warmest on record, by some way.
January. Exceptionally sunny. With an average of 78.3 hours (34% above average), it was the third sunniest in 125 years (since records began), and the sunniest since 1959. Some places had their sunniest January ever (e.g. Carlisle, Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry). Folkestone had 114 hours. With a mild start and finish, but a cold, anticyclonic spell in the middle, temperatures were a little below average. It was -14C at Altnaharra on the 18th. Heavy rain in the south on the 26th, with some snow on the northern flank: several cms on the Chilterns. Rainfall was about average over much of England and Wales, but it was very wet along the south coast, extremely wet in the Channel Islands, yet very dry in northeast Scotland: Kinloss only had 11 mm.
February. Wet and sunny; particularly wet in the SE. The month began with a cold, snowy spell in the north, while it was very wet and mild in the south. Cold easterly winds brought severe weather from the 2nd to 10th in the norht. There was a notable blizzard in the north on the 4th, with two days of heavy snow in eastern Scotland and NE England; 40 cm of snow, with 60 cm at Aboyne (Aberdeen). Then mild and anticyclonic: generally dry from the 13-25th. The pressure of 1046 mb on the 17th was the highest February pressure since 1979. The month had a cold, snowy end. There were 33 cm of snow near Durham on the morning of the 28th. There were even 3 cm of snow on Scilly in the evening and night of the 28th - the first significant snow since 1986. In some places in the north of England it was an extremely sunny month. Overall, the coldest February since 1996, although absolutely temperatures were about the long-term average; it was colder and wintrier in Scotland.
March. A cold, easterly month - the coldest since 1996. A very cold, snowy start. After a heavy fall of snow, particularly in the north, clearing skies and no wind gave some remarkably low temperatures: -19C at Aviemore on the 2nd, and then -21 at Altnaharra on the morning of the 3rd, and a reported -22C at Kibrace (Caithness), the same morning - the lowest March temperature since 1958, and not far short of the record. The maximum was -4.6C at Cassley, Sutherland on 2nd, a record low maximum for March. Things warmed up quickly, with 17C recorded in Cardiff on the 7th. After a mild spell, there was more snow. 10 cm of snow fell on Powys on the 17th; the maximum that day at Sennybridge was 0C. There was significant snowfall in the south on the 20th, accompanied by biting easterly winds. Several centimetres on Exmoor led to roads being blocked. The SWs returned at the end of the month, with 17C reached in East Anglia. It was a very dull overall month in the south (just 66 hours in Hampstead), very sunny in the NW (170 hours on Tiree - the sunniest since 1955). Wet over much of the country, with the southern England and East Anglie getting twice the average, and places in the SE coast getting three times the average. Overall, it was the wettest March since 1988. It was dry and sunny in the NW, though.
April. Overall, quite cold: the equal coldest (with 1998) since 1989. It had a warm start: 21.5C reached in London and 21C in East Anglia on the 2nd, a fine early date to top 70F - indeed, the earliest date for 70F since 1990. After the first three days things went downhill. There were then a couple of weeks of northerlies. -4C at Altnaharra on the 13th, and -6 at Loch Glascarnoch the following night. The final week was unsettled, with some thunderstorms in the south. There were 9 mm hailstones in a violent thunderstorm in the Bristol area on the 24th. 10 mm hailstones affected East Anglia on the 25th. Overall quite wet - 65% above average, but quite dry in the NW. Quite dull in the south.
May. Warm and sunny. It was the sunniest May since 1997, and the warmest since the exceptional 1999. It was also a dry month, with only 57% of normal - making it the first drier than average month in nine months; we have to go back to 1991 for a significantly drier May. It was very dry and warm in east Scotland. There was a dry anticyclonic spell in the north at the start. Severe thunderstorms crossed the south and Midlands on the 9-10th, with lightning strikes and travel chaos. Temperatures rose after this. 27C at Northolt on the 11th and Southampton on the 12th, and 28C at Rickmansworth. The 17th was very cold, with a maximum of only 4.3 at High Wycombe. There was another warm spell at the end, with 25C in London on the 28th. The 27-28th were unusually humid, hot days. The minimum on the 28th at Norwich was 17C (the highest May minimum since 1945).
June. Cool first half in the south, warm second half; mostly cool all month in the north. The month had a cold start as Arctic air swept south, giving snow on the mountains of Scotland, settling above 1000 m. There were also some low temperatures and widespread ground frosts: -1.8C at Redhill (Surrey) early on the 9th, +0.3 and 0.4 C at Benson (Oxon) on the mornings of the 8th and 9th, and 3C at Hurn (Bournemouth) on the 9th. Dry but cloudy and cool first half. There were 54 mm of rain at Newquay on the 5th, with most of that in just three hours. There were some notable thunderstorms midmonth, with 58 mm at Leeming on the 15th (most of it in 3 hours), 4 cm hailstones in Luton, and 70 mm of rain at Coltishall (Norfolk), leading to flooding. There was a heatwave at the end, culminating in 32.2C (just 90F) at Northolt (London) on the 26th, and high temperatures widespread in the south. The minimum in Southampton on the night of the 25-26th was 21C (70F). There was a severe hailstorm in the evening of the 26th in west Kent; the streets looked as though they were covered in snow, and car bonnets were dented. Overall, slightly warmer than average in the SE, but slightly cooler in the NW. In England and Wales, it was the driest and sunniest June since 1996. It was however cloudier than average in the north.
July. Warmer than average, except in the far north. Overall an average amount of rainfall, but because recent Julys have tended to be dry, it was the wettest since 1993. Hot and humid beginning and end, with a cooler, unsettled spell sandwiched in between. Hot start, with some notable thunderstorms. Severe storms, with accompanying heavy downpours, affected North Wales and SW Scotland on the 3rd, and south Wales on the 4th. Flooding in Lanarkshire and outskirts of Glasgow on the 3rd. At Wishaw the storm started at 10.45pm, peaking at 60 flashes of lightning a minute, and giving 69.2 mm of rain in one hour. There was flooding in Cardiff, following 67 mm of rain in less than six hours, although it is likely that more than 125 mm fell in parts of mid-Wales. More severe storms affected the south, SW, and Midlands of England on the 5-7th. Meanwhile 32C (90F) was recorded at St Helier (Jersey) on the 3rd, and Rickmansworth (Herts.) on the 5th. After the first week, the weather became much cooler and more unsettled. Norwich recorded 61 hours of sunshine in the first seven days, and only 20 in the next seven. There were some unusually low minima midmonth, with +0.3C recorded at Sennybridge (Powys) on the morning of the 16th, and 3C widespread across the Midlands.There was more heavy rain 17-19th. After the unsettled spell, a ridge of high pressure brought fine, hot weather to England and Wales, with temperatures peaking around 32C in London on the 28th and 29th. It was the dullest July for 10 years across parts of Scotland, while it was sunnier than average across England and Wales.
August. Overall, it was warmer than average (CET 16.9C), with some hot spells intermingled with cooler snaps. There were some violent thunderstorms early in the month: 52 mm of rain at Northolt (London) on the 9th - most of it in 3 hours; 34 mm fell in one hour; the was very heavy hail at Coggleshall (Essex) on the same day. Small tornadoes damaged crops at Milton Keynes, and overturned caravans and ripped roofs off garages at Gosport along a 2 km track of destruction, also on the 9th. There was a heatwave midmonth, as moist hot air swept across the south; 30C was reached even in London, even though it was mainly overcast. The temperatures peaked at 32.0C in several locations in the SE on the 15th; it was also very humid, with high night-time minima in some urban areas of around 20C. It was very wet in eastern Scotland 18-19th. It was then cooler for a while. There was a hot end to the end of the month, giving the warmest August Bank Holiday weekend in decades (e.g. the hottest Bank Holiday Saturday in London since 1943, and the record warmest since the current late date for the Holiday was established in 1971): It was 31.5C in London (Heathrow) and Herne Bay on Bank Holiday Saturday (25th), before becoming cloudier, and wetter, with cool NWs for the last few days. There were some severe thunderstorms and hail events on the 25th in the south and east, with 25 mm hailstones in Nottingham, and cars were damaged at Wragby (Lincs.). Overall there was about average rainfall and sunshine, although somewhat sunnier than average in the north.
September. About average rainfall and temperatures overall, with frequent northwesterly winds. It was dry and sunny in the west, cooler and cloudier in the east, and wet in some easterly districts. Temperatures were in fact slighly below normal; the CET was the lowest since 1994. There were no "warm days" above 24C: the first time this has happened since 1995. Unusually, it was relatively dry in the west and wet in the east. Some places in northern Scotland had their dullest September on record. An anticyclone centred to the west of the British Isles gave NW winds, leading to the coldest first half of September since 1994. First signs of autumn on the 4th with low temperatures (2C at Saughall, near Glasgow), and 3C in East Anglia n the morning of the 5th; widespread ground frosts. The 6th was the first day since June 18th when 21C was not breeched anywhere in Britain. The 7th saw the first gale of the autumn across southern Scotland and northern Britain. On the 9th and 10th the maximum at Cromer was only 13C, and no more than 11C at Buxton on the 13th. After the 18th, the winds switched from the NW to the NE until the 26th. Hence in the third week, it was cool, dull, and wet in the SE, and sunny and warm in the NW: 22C at Loch Sloy (Argyll) on the 19th, but 11.7C at Whipsnade on the 17th. The 28th was a very warm day in the south: 24C at Northolt in London, and 22C as far north as York, with unbroken susnhine (although it was grim up north). Gales on the 30th.
October. What a month! With a CET of 13.3C, easily the warmest ever recorded! Goodbye 1969. In some places, October was warmer than September 2001. Unusually for a very warm month, it was generally duller than average in many places, although quite sunny in eastern and northwestern England and Wales. It was also wet (60% above the England and Wales average) - but nowhere near as wet as October 2000. The month had a violently disturbed start, with gales, heavy rain, and thunder. There was some heavy rain, flash floods, hail, and strong winds on the 1st and 2nd. The 6th was a lively day. A tornado swept through the Norfolk Broads, damaging roofs in the villages of Repps-with-Bastwick and Potter Heigham, and uprooting trees and electricity poles, and generating a waterspout on the River Thurne. A large waterspout was spotted off the Suffolk coast near Sizewell. On the same day 7 mm hail fell on Leicester, as thunderstorms and sharp showers crossed Britain. On the 7th there were more gales and heavy rain: 28.6 mm fell at Hurn in one hour early in the afternoon. There was flooding in Sussex and Kent on the 7th. Mild midmonth, with temperatures exceeding 21C, including 25.3C at Herne Bay in Kent on the 13th. Some very wet weather affected eastern districts on the weekend of the 20-21st: there was flooding in the West Midlands and North Wales, and then 82.2 mm fell at Cambridge on the 21st, leading to localised flooding in the Fens. On the 24th another tornado damaged the roofs of houses and overturned lorries at Westbury (Wilts.). It was very warm at the end: 20C at Hawarden and 21C at Guernsey on the 30th. Nowhere in the country reported an air frost this month - this has never happened before. Indeed, with such a SW/w month, nighttime minima were particularly high.
November. Mainly dry and mild, especially in the SE. The driest since 1990. Mainly anticyclonic and sunny until the 24th; dull and wet last week. The average pressure was the highest in the last 50 years. There was heavy rain in the SE on the 6th and 7th, with 35 mm at Hampstead. There was then an early Arctic snap, with snow in the north on the 8th, and as far as the SE on the 9th. This is the earliest snowfall in the SE since November 1980. Furthermore, consider the contrast of maximum temperatures of about 3C in the south in this spell with 21C nine days earlier. -5C at Benson (Oxon.) on the 10th and 14th. The month ended with warm SWs: 16.9C at Hawarden (Chester) on the 30th, an extremely high reading for so late in the year.
December. Dry and sunny; colder than average, but not exceptionally so (3.5C, the coldest since 1996). In many places it was the sunniest December recorded, with many places having twice the average (with more sumshine than some very dull Augusts). The south coast did best for sunshine; totals included 119.8 hours at St. Helier (Jersey) , 118.9 at Weymouth, 115.3 at Torquay, and 115.1 at Bognor Regis. It was the driest December since 1991, with the England and Wales total only about half the expected total. After a mild start, with 16.1C at Nantmor on the 11th, becoming very anticyclonic, with pressure peaking at 1046 mbar over Scotland around the 16th. A cold end.