The coldest year overall since 1986. A dry first half and wet second half. The year continues in the spirit of December's 2009 very cold spell. The winter started early, in November, with an exceptional early cold and snowy spell disrupting travel and services. December 2010 is the coldest December since 1890 and the first sub-zero average month since 1986. Winter 2009-10 is the 8th coldest since 1900. It was a sunny year in Northern Ireland, with a particularly sunny October and November; overall with 1415 hours of sunshine it was the fourth sunniest year then on record after 1955 (1456 hours), 1975, and 1959.
January. Overall very cold - the coldest month since 1987. Very cold first half, less so second half, but still mostly cool, especially in the north. The prolonged very cold spell continued in the first half of the month. Strathallan records -14.3C on the 1st, Benson (Oxfordshire) -17.7C on the 7th. There was widespread snow in the south on the 6th. The temperature fell to -22.3C at Altnaharra on the night of the 7-8th, the lowest reading in the UK since December 1995. The maximum at Altnaharra was -13.5C on the 10th. During the first week of the month lay up to 60 cm deep in parts of eastern Scotland and northeastern England. The highest temperature of the month was 12.4C at Exeter on the 16th. It was quite a dry month; 68 mm average for England and Wales is 72% of the long-term average. It was also dry in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was sunnier than average (127%), sunniest in Cornwall and dullest at Aviemore.
February. Overall colder than average, particularly in the north. Easterly winds were common. It was -19.2C at Braemar on the 22nd-23rd. On the 23rd there was a very high range, from the -19.2C at Braemar to +12.5 at Jersey and 11.1C at Scilly. The highest temperature of the month was 12.3C at Kew o the 5th. There were frequent light snowfalls in the month, but there was a major snowfall in Scotland on the 24-26th, with 18" of snow at Aviemore, perhaps more in places. It was slightly wetter than average, with 122% (79 mm)of the expected rainfall over England and Wales. The southeast, unusually, was the wettest part of the country - Folkestone had 167 mm of rain, while parts of the west Midlands were the driest. It was slightly duller than usual in England, but sunnier in Scotland. It was brighter and drier though in Northern Ireland.
March. Overall rather average. Quite cold and settled first half, mild and less settled second half, but with cold snowy end to the month in the north. The highest temperature of the month was 18.0C at Weybourne (Norfolk) on the 18th, and the lowest -18.6C at Braemar on the night of the 3rd-4th. In the cold snap at the end the maximum at Dalwhinnie on the 30th was -0.1C. Snow lay 40 cm deep at Aviemore on the 31st. It was very slightly drier than average in England and Wales (66.4 mm, 90%), but slightly wetter than average in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was quite a sunny month across the country (137 hours, 135% of the mean); Jersey airport saw 157 hours.
April. Unsettled at the beginning and end, but most of the month it was fine, dry, and settled, with warm days and cool nights. Overall somewhat warmer than average. Temperatures ranged from 22.1C at Swanscombe (Kent on the 28th) to -7.0C at Braemar (on the morning of the 2nd). It was a very dry month, with an England and Wales average of 28 mm (47% of the long-term mean); it was particularly dry in the SE. It was a very sunny month, with and E&W average of 221 hours - 141%, making it the fourth sunniest in the last 100 years (after 1912, 1914, 1984, and 2007, which in turn was beaten only by 1893); Jersey enjoyed 273 hours.
May. A cool month - the coldest since 1996. An anticyclonic month, with a cold first three weeks, with cold northerly winds, but warming up from the 19th. The highest temperature of the month was 28.8C at Heathrow on the 24th; the lowest minimum was -6.0C at Braemar (8th( and Altnaharra (12). It was a dry month, with an E&W average of 39.7 mm, 64% average, the driest since 2001. It was also drier than average across Scotland and Northern ireland. Bridlington had just 8.1 mm. It was slightly sunnier than average (219 hours in E&W, 108%); the sunniest place was Anglesey, with 272 hours.
June Warm, dry, and sunny, except in the very far north. It made the top ten Junes of the last century, and was the warmest since the very hot June of 2006. Temperatures ranged from 30.9 at Swanscombe (Kent) on the 27th to -0.1C at Carter Bar in the Borders on the 19th. On the night of the 27-28th the temperature at Olympic Park in London didn't fall beneath 17.4C. England and Wales averaged 41.5, 60% of the 1970-2000 mean. Just 7.1 mm of rain fell at Rosehearty near Aberdeen. England and Wales average sunshine was 260 hours, 137% of average, making it the sunniest June since 1975. It was the third sunniest June since 1929 in SW England and S Wales. Jersey saw 317 hours.
July. Dull and very wet in the west, very warm and sunny in the southeast. Overall the CET was above average, and July 2010 was the warmest since 2006. It was the first westerly month since November 2009. Highest temperature of the month was 31.7C at Swanscombe (Kent) on the 9th. The temperature at Olympic Park (London) didn't fall beneath 20C on the the night of the 1-2nd. Overall it was quite a wet month, with an average of 66 mm, 116%. It was very wet in Scotland, with 208% of the average amount. 360 mm fell at Capel Curig in Snowdonia. Overall the pressure was beneath average, and it was quite a windy month at times. Heavy rain in east Scotland on the 20-21, peaking with a tremendous deluge around 9 am, lead to the worst flooding in Perth since January 1993. Overall it was quite a dull month, with an average of 170 hours, 80% of the 71-00 average, making it the dullest July since 1998.
August. With a CET of 15.3C, August was cooler than average - indeed the coolest since 1993. It was however drier and sunnier than usual in the north, even though there it was still cool. The highest temperature of the month was just 26.7C at Weybourne (Norfolk) on the 21st - this is the lowest highest August maximum since 1993. There was a frost at Altnaharra overnight on the 25-26th, at -1.3C. In contrast the minimum at Olympic Park in London on the 20-21st was 19.9C. Rainfall in England and Wales averaged 106.2mm (147% average, although the north was drier. The wettest place was Liscombe (Devon) which saw 172mm. There were two periods of very heavy rainfall in southern England and Wales in the third week. On the 22nd heavy rain fell across Wiltshire, Hampshire, and Sussex, with 48 mm in 24 hours at Havant. More rain fell over similar areas Wednesday-Friday (25-27th) across Wales, the Midlands, and southern and Eastern England: the Mumbles (Swansea) recorded 64.2 mm, and Wattisham near Ipswich recorded 62.4 mm, leading to flooding in parts of the SE. This is the first time two very heavy periods of rain have happened in one week in August since 1960. Although Scotland was sunnier than average, England and Wales endured a cold month, seeing just 150 hours, 76% of the 71-00 mean. The sunniest place was the Isle of Man (Ronaldsway) which had 204 hours of sunshine.
September. A mixed month, overall with average rainfall and sunshine and a little warmer than average. The highest temperature of the month was 24.6C at Swanscombe (Kent) on 22nd, and the lowest -4.4C at Tyndrum (Stirlingshire) on the night of the 25-26th, and also at Kinbrace (Sutherland) on the 26-27th - this was the lowest UK September minimum since 1993. Scotland and Northern Ireland were slightly wetter than usual. It was wetter in the west and drier in the east. The sunniest place was Jersey airport in the Channel Islands, with 190 hours.
October. Wet start, then warm and fine, with a cold final two weeks. Temperatures overall were very close to average. The highest temperature of the month was 23.1C at Chivenor (Devon) and Valley (Anglesey), and the lowest -6.6C at Sennybridge (Brecon) overnight on the 24-25th. Rainfall was 85% of verage (80 mm). It was a dry month in Northern Ireland (49 mm, just 47% of the long-term average). It was slightly sunnier than average across the country.
November. Most memorable for an exceptional in any terms cold spell at the end of the month, November 2010 enjoyed a mild first week, particularly in the south, and a wet middle two weeks. SW winds brought warm weather to the south on the 4th; 19C at St James's Park in London, which is the highest November maximum since 2003. There was some heavy rain in the southwest midmonth, with 52 mm of rain at Cardinham, near Bodmin, on the 16-17th, led to flooding in Cornwall around St Austell and Lostwithiel. Overall the temperature was beneath average, making it the coldest since 1965. At the end of the month there was a severe spell of cold weather, with widespread snow, making it the worst November cold spell since 1993. It was most remarkable for the early date on which the intense cold set in. The temperature overnight on the 27th-28th fell to -18.0C at Llysdinam in Powys, a new Welsh record low for November. The lowest temperature in England was -13.5C at Topcliffe (North Yorks.) on the 28th - probably the lowest November temperature in England since 1904. The temperature fell to -11.9C in Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland on the 28th. There are some extremely low temperatures, and record-breaking snowfall for east Scotland on the 28-29th, particularly in the Dundee region, which effectively became cut off by a foot of snow. On the 30th the maximum at Loch Glascarnoch in Sutherland was only -6.7C. Rainfall in England and Wales was very slightly beneath average; it was particularly dry in the Cambridge area, which had only 16 mm of precipitation. It was very wet in parts of the SW, W Scotland, and E Scotland. It was quite a sunny month, particularly so in west Scotland; the sunniest place in the UK was Auchincruivie (Ayrshire) which saw 95 hours. The dullest place was Lerwick.
December. An amazing month: exceptionally cold, with a CET of -0.7C. This month was the coldest December since 1890, the coldest month of any since 1986, and the first time the month's average CET (Central England Temperature) was beneath zero since 1986. The exceptionally cold weather continued from the end of November with more heavy snow in the east and south right from the start of the month. The lowest minimum of the month was -21.1C at Altnaharra on the 1st. The lowest maximum of the month, -15.8C, was also recorded at Altnaharra, on the 22nd. After a very cold first ten days the weather turned slightly milder for a while until extremely cold air swept south across the country on the 16th. The air arrived with more snow, and was then followed by some extremely low daytime and night-time temperatures. A new all-time record minimum was set twice in the month in Northern Ireland, with -18.6C at Castlederg on the morning of the 23rd. (The temperature then in fog fell to -18.7C just after 9, so the record is officially accredited to the 24th.) Other very low temperatures included -18.7C at Pershore on the 20th following a maximum of -8.2C on the 19th, -19.6C at Shawbury on the 19th, and -19.4C at Altnaharra on the 22nd. There were some very low daytime maxima too, including -11.0C at Castlederg on the 18th, -11.3C at Edenfel, Omagh, and -8.2C at Pershore on the 19th. Ten nights during the month the temperature dropped beneath -18C (OF) somewhere in the UK. It was a White Christmas in the sense of widespread lying snow, with some snow showers in the east. It was the coldest Christmas day on record with a minimum of -18.2C at Altnaharra; the temperature Christmas night at Pershore fell to -16.2C, and only rose to a maximum of -6.4C on Boxing Day. This is the first time there have been two consecutive white Christmases since reliable records began. It became slightly warmer, particularly in the south, from the 28th. The highest temperature of the month was 11.5C at St Mary's (Scilly) on the 28th. The thaw led to widespread bursting of pipes, particularly in parts of Northern Ireland where serious water shortages ensued. It was a dry month, with just 39.4 mm averaged overall England and Wales (39& of the long-term average), making it the driest December since 1991, and the third driest on record (since 1910). Both Scotland (47%) and Northern Ireland (60%) were very dry. Shap in Cumbria, often one of the wettest places in Britain, saw just 7 mm of rain all month. Sunshine was variable. It was very sunny in the west and north, with Scotland averaging 176% with 58 hours and Northern Ireland 61.5 hours being 173%; England and Wales averaged 55 hours (116%). Sunshine totals ranged from 91 hours at Auchincruive in Ayrshire to just 10 hours at Charlwood in Surrey. Some places in the SE, such as south Essex, saw virtually no sunshine in the final two weeks. Overall thought it was theird sunniest December since sunshine records started to widely kept in 1929. Many places in Britain had snow lying all month; indeed many locations (including my own station in east Scotland) had snow lying from 25th November through into the New Year. This month now becomes my most interesting December on record.