Overall. A dry winter. The period October 2004 to March 2005 was the driest such period since 1996-7. A very dry year (but not as dry as 2003), although in parts of the southeast it was the driest since 1996, and in some parts of the central south the driest since 1973. Around Oxford and Reding it was the driest since 1947. However, it was wetter than average in parts of NW Scotland. Overall it was warmer than average, but still it was the coldest year since 2001. Every month was warmer than average (some just). There was a very sunny end to the year - November and December combined were the sunniest on record.
January. A month of two halves, as they say. The first half was quite stormy, particularly in the north and west; the second half, quiet and dry. With westerly winds, it was mild everywhere, but the position of the anticyclone meant that while it was wet in the north, it was dry in the south and east. A very disturbed first week with some ferocious gales and severe flooding, particularly across the north and west. In the 48 hours up to 6 pm on the 8th, Capel Curig (North Wales) had 184.4 mm of rain; Keswick had 118.0 mm. There was severe flooding in Carlisle and the Eden Valley. It reached 14.7C at Church Fenton, near York, on the 9th. At Weybourne (north Norfolk coast), the minimum the following night was 12.7C - the warmest January night for 47 years. A particularly severe storm on the 11-12th caused loss of life and havoc, particularly in the NW and W, combined with a very high tide. The pressure fell to 944 mbars off the W coast of Scotland. There were gusts of 90 knots across the NW; Cairngorm recorded 117 knots. The lowest temperature of the month was -9.2C at Dalwhinnie on the 23rd. Overall with a CET of 6.1C it was the warmest January since 1990. Many places along the south and west coasts had a frost-free month. England and Wales rainfall averaged 56 mm (40% beneath average); Scotland had 45% above average rainfall, while the western Highlands and Lake District had twice the average.
February. Another month of two halves, but overall just about average temperatures. The first half was very mild. The second half of the month however saw the most prolonged wintry spell for some time, and we have to go back to the legendary 1986 for a comparable cold second half of February. The warmest day was 14.1C in central London on the 12th, and the coldest night -11.4C at Kinbrace (Sutherland) early on the 25th. The temperature fell to -9.5C at Redhill on the 27-28th, the coldest February reading since 1991. It was a dry month, particularly in the south; Portsmouth had just 8 mm of precipitation. Parts of the east had more rain, particularly as snow. There were some notable snow events across the country. There were substantial falls in southern Scotland on the 24th, and in the SE on the 25th and 27th. Kent was particularly badly affected in the south.
March. Overall slightly warmer than average, but yet another month of two halves. The first two weeks were cold with northerly winds. It suddenly became much warmer around the 14th. Snowy particular in the north and east. The winds then turned southerly. The minimum of -11.5C at Boughton-under-Blean (near Canterbury, Kent) on the 4th was the lowest in southern England in March since 1970, while the maximum of 21.6C at Wisley (Surrey) was the highest temperature in March since 1990. Slightly drier than average. The winds turned easterly for the final week from Easter on, making it very dull and foggy along parts of the east coast. It was the dullest March since 1998, but in parts of East Anglia the dullest since 1984.
April. A little warmer than average, and a little wetter. Very wet in southern and western Scotland, northern England, and Devon. It was the dullest April in the Midlands since 1993. There was a particularly wet spell, with flooding, in southern Scotland and northern England midmonth, while it was cloudless in northern and western Scotland from the 16th to the 26th. It warmed up at the end of the month, with 22C in London on the 30th. The maximum of 0.1C at Lerwick on the 8th made it the coldest April day since 1985 there.
May. Fairly average in the south, and quite dry; wetter and cooler in the north. "Average" meant the coolest May for nine years. The night of 30 April - 1 May was the warmest so early in the year since 1945, with some minima in the south of 14C. In contrast, there were some air frosts across the country in the second and third weeks. This was the first time the south has seen a May frost since 1996. On the morning of the 18th it was -6.3C at Tulloch Bridge - the lowest May temperature since 1982. It was the lowest May temperature in the second half of the month since 1956. There were also some light snow showers in the north. The weather changed dramatically on the 19th as Atlantic fronts returned. There was a short-lived heatwave at the end of the month: it was 31.4C in Herne Bay on the 27th (and an unofficial 31.9C in London), the hottest May day since 1953 (although 1989 came close). Meanwhile in the north we shivered, with much of Scotland under 10C - the extreme heat was confined to the southeast and east. Hence London was 21C warmer than Edinburgh - an amazing contrast.
June. Overall very warm, in spite of a cold first half (the coldest such for 10 years). There were some violent thunderstorms at the end of the month. After a wet start an anticyclone gave some warm, sunny days in the second week, but with some night frosts, even in the south of England. The maximum pressure of 1039 mbars made was the highest for June since 1962. There was another short-lived heatwave near the end of the month, with 32.6C in London (Heathrow) on the 19th - the warmest June day there since 1976 (and with an unofficial 34.4C at Kensington). It was very humid, too. Flash-flooding followed very severe thunderstorms that night, with some large hail - in fact the most widespread occurrence of very large (>20mm diameter) since 17 May 1997. There were some high minima too, with a minimum of 20C in London on the night of the 19-20th. There were some severe thunderstorms over the North York Moors on the afternoon of the 19th. Rainfall overall was variable, depending on where the thunderstorms hit. Overall it was quite dry in the south. There were more violent thunderstorms on the 29th, with 35 mm hailstones causing damage in Essex.
July. Overall slightly warmer than average. Slightly wetter than average in the south, dry in the north. Cool and cloudy beginning and end, with hot, sunny spells midmonth. Parts of Scotland had their hottest day for 15 years on the 11th and 12th; 30.3C recorded at Aberfeldy was the highest since 1976. It reached 30.9C at Heathrow on the 14th. The north and east were particularly cool at the end of the month, with a maximum of only 10.9C near Durham on the 28th. A tornado devastated parts of Birmingham on the 28th, causing severe damage in the Kings Heath, Small Heath, Moseley, and Balsall Heath regions, reaching T5 intensity and cutting a swath of damage 500 m wide with winds estimated at more than 140 mph, blowing over a 1000 trees, injuring 19, and causing £39 million of damage. Several other tornadoes affected the Midlands on that day.
August. Overall about average temperatures - some high temperatures were offset by some cool nights. A minimum of +0.8C was recorded at Braemar on the night of the 8-9th. It was slightly drier than average in the south, and slightly wetter than average in the north, with most of the rain coming in an unsettled period from the 19th-25th. It was quite dry in the NE and far SW, and particularly on the Isle of Man. It was slightly sunnier than average, and particularly sunny on the Devon and Dorset coasts. There were some violent thunderstorms in the south on the 19th; 51 mm of rain fell at Portsdown, near Portsmouth, most of it in half an hour. The month ended with an exceptional short-lived hot spell: 32.1C was recorded at Northolt (London) on the 31st, the highest temperature so late in the year since 1949. The southerly winds brought a dustfall and was followed by a thundery breakdown.
September. Across the country it was warmer, drier and sunnier than average: indeed it was the fifth hottest of the last century (beaten only by 1929, 1949, 1961, and 1999). There was a notable short-lived hot spell at the start of the month. The night of the 3-4th was warm and humid, with a minimum of 20.4C on Guernsey. Then 29.7C was recorded at Northolt (NW London) on the 4th. Also on the 4th, Charterhall (Berwickshire) recorded 27.4C, the hottest September day in Scotland since 1991. The first half was particularly warm and largely settled (beaten only by 1949), the second half more disturbed. There were some early ground and even air frosts in the second half of the month. Shap saw -1.7C on the 16-17th (the lowest in mid-September since 1986). Most of the rain fell in the final week.
October. Very warm - with a CET of 13.1C it was almost but not quite as good as the record-breaking month of October 2001. It was consistently warm rather than containing exceptional hot spells, with very little frost. The highest maximum was 23.6C at Herne Bay (Kent) on the 10th. It was also a very wet month, and quite cloudy - the dullest since 1982. At Eskdalemuir the total of 36 hours of sunshine made it the dullest October in a century. There were notable downpours in east Scotland on the 11th and 24th. On the 11th a slow-moving front delineating the boundary between warm, humid air to the south and cold air in the north moved across the country. Milford Haven had 120 mm of rain in 24 hours; 48 hour totals included 140 mm at Milford Haven and 113 mm at Eskdalemuir. It was very warm towards the end of the month, with southerly winds: it reached 22.5C at Kinlochewe (Wester Ross) on the 27th - the latest date at which 22C has been exceeded in the UK.
November. A month of two halves again: the first half was the warmest since 1994, the second half the coldest since 1993. Overall therefore the month was very slightly cooler than average. It was dry in the east. It was also an extremely sunny month - the sunniest November on record (although beaten by 2006), with an average of 98 hours, easily beating 1988 (the average is 64 hours). Copley in Durham saw 124 hours. After an unsettled start it became dry, anticyclonic, and cold, with some sharp frosts at night. On the 2nd the temperature reached 18.8C at Prestatyn, and on the night of the 2-3rd the minimum at Herne Bay in Kent was 15.8C - a new record. Later it was -9.2C at Tulloch Bridge on the morning of the 18th and at Braemar on the 19th; the maximum at Pershore on the 20th, in freezing fog, was only -0.6C. On the 24th the winds turned to the north, introducing arctic air, with snow and biting winds. More snow on the 25th causes traffic havoc in school closures in Scotland, Wales, and the south west, particularly in Cornwall.
December. Sunny and quite dry. It was particularly sunny in the SE. Sunshine averaged 65 hours, against an expected mean of 48 hours - the fourth sunniest December on record (but not as sunny as 2001). Apart from the very beginning and end it as an anticyclonic month. Temperatures overall were about normal, with some mild days in the first part of the month offset by a cold end. There was a cold, snowy spell at the end of the month, with some heavy snow in the southeast and then the north and east. The minimum at Aviemore on the 29th was -12.8C on the night of the 28-29th, and the maximum at Durham on the 29th was only -3.9C. It was a dry month; parts of Dorset had no rain from the 7th until the 29th.