2020

The sunniest spring on record by some way, with around 640 hours, almost 60 hours more than the next sunniest (1948); it was also very dry. A very wet summer, although it was dry in the southeast and far north of Scotland. There were three ntoable brief heatwaves through the summer. Overall it was the third warmest in the CET series, and the fifth wettest and the eighth sunniest on record: no other year has reached the top of these three categories before.


January. Very mild. Anticyclonic for the first week and again from the middle of the month until the 26th. The month saw an intense anticyclone develop; London's highest ever pressure of 1049.6 mbars was recorded at Heathrow on the 19th, and then 1050.5 was recorded at the Mumbles, Swansea, on the 20th. There were fewer frosts than usual and only a little snow in a few places at the end of the month. Rainfall was 100% of average but it was wetter in the west and drier in the east. Sunshine was 94% of average, but particularly dull in the NW. The highest temperature of the month was 15.5C at Achfary (Sutherland) on the 7th and the lowest -7.9C at Braemar on the 10th. On the 10-11th 138.0 mm of rain fell on Skye.

February. Extremely wet with three large storm systems. It was the wettest February on record, with 237% of average overall, and over 40% in placs. It was slightly milder than usual, particularly in the south. Two storms (Ciara and Dennis) brought strong winds and heave rain midmonth. There was widepsread flooding, particularly in Yorkshire, parts of Wales, and the Severn valley and its tributaries. Such descriptions cannot do just do the misery such weather brings. Sunshine was 104% of average: dull in the west but brighter in the east. The highest temperature of the month was 16.0C at East Malling (Kent) on the 16th, and the lowest -10.2C at Braemar on the 13th. 180.4 mm fell in the recording day at Honister Pass in Cumbria on the 19-20th. There was some snow, particularly on hills on the north.

March. A classic month of two halves. The wet autum and winter continued into the first two weeks of the month. A high pressure of 1051.2 mbars recorded at South Uist, Outer Hebrides, on the 29th, was a new March record. Overall slightly drier than average (82%) and very sunny, particularly in England and Wales (134%). The first week was cool but it then became more mild; the anticyclonic second half saw some night frosts and warm days. Overall temperatures were close to average, with a high of 19.4 C at Rhyl on the 24th and a low of -7.6 C at Aboyne on the 16th. 107.2 mm rain fell in 24 hours 7-8th at Alltdearg House (Skye).

April. Mostly anticyclonic with frequenty easterly winds. It was the sunniest April on record (151% of average). Overall it was warmer than average (fifth warmest since 1884) and very dry (40% of rainfall). Most of the rain in many places came in the last few days of the month. Highest temperature of the month was 26.0C at Treknow (Cornwll) on the 10th, and the lowest -6.9C at Braemar on the 19th. 38.4 mm of rain fell at Portsea (Hampshire) on the 17-18th.

May. Mostly a very anticyclonic month. It was a very sunny month, the sunniest month on record, with 143% of average, and was particularly sunny in England and Wales. An England and Wales average of 266 hours beat the previous record of June 1959. The highest sunshine total was recorded at Bournemouth, 339.5 hours. It was also a very dry month, overall with 47% of average rainfall, but it was extremely dry in the southeast. It was slightly warmer than average, although there some sharp frosts early and midmonth. The highest temperature of the month was 28.3C at Cromdale (Morayshire) on the 29th, and the lowest -6.6C at Kinbrace (Sutherland) on the 3rd. It was a wet month in the far NW: 97.2 mm of rain fell at Achnagart (Ross & Cromarty) on the 22-23rd.

June. After the fine May, June soon become unsettled. There was a late heatwave: 32.6C recorded at Heathrow on the 24th, and 33.4 there on the 25th, followed by a thundery breakdown. Overall it was slightly warmer than average, and it was much wetter than a typical June, with 144%. Sunshine was close to average, although it was quite dull in the west and central and eastern Scotland. In the 24 hours up to 9 am GMT on the 29th, 212.8 mm of rain fell at Honister Pass in Cumbria - this is a new 24 hour record for June. The temperature didn't fall beneath 20C at Gosport and Hastings on the south coast on June 25th, a rare example of what is called a "tropical night".

July. Unsettled until midmonth, then with high presure midmonth, especially in the south, for a while. There was a very brief heatwave right at the end, but the UK recorded its third highest temperature, with 37.8C at Heathrow on the 31st. Overall cooler than average, wet (122%, and very wet in southern Scotland and NW England), and dull (83%). SE England tended to be warmer, drier, and sunnier. 101.8 mm of rain fell at Aberllefenni, Cymerau Farm (Gwynedd), on 3-4th.

August. After an unsettled start, it became very hot, particularly in the southeast. There was a notable heatwave midmonth, peaking with 36.4C recorded at Heathrow on Friday 7th, the highest August reading since 2003. It was 30.1C at Kew on the 6th, then 34.5C at Herstmonceux on the 8th,  34.0C there on the 9th, 35.5C at Heathrow on the 10th, 35.7 at Heathrow on the 11th, and 35.4 at Heathrow on the 12th, giving seven consecutive days above 30C, and six above 34C. St James Park in London recorded six consecutive days over 34C. The very hot spell, mostly localised to the SE, saw five "tropical nights", with minima above 20C, making six for the year, the highest being a minimum of 22.3 on the 8th at Langdon Bay (Kent). Before recent years these were very rare - yet beween 2008 and  2017 there were only 12 tropical nights in total. It became more unsettled midmonth, and often wet and windy. Overall it was mostly much warmer than average, and slightly duller, with 88% of the expected sunshine. It was a wet month, with 135% of average rainfall. 103.8 mm of rain fell in the meteorological day ending on the 13th at Hollies (Staffs.), and a provisional massive 239.9 mm at East Wretham (Norfolk) on the 16th, which when confirmed will beat the 1924 record.

September. Overall very slightly warmer than average, but maxima were above average in the SE. A westerly start to the month. Then was another short heatwave: after a warm start to the month, it was 29.6C at Charlwood (Surrey) on the 14th, and then 31.3C at Frittendn (near Tunbridge Wells, Kent) on the 15th. It didn't seem that long ago that 30C+ was rare in September; there were none between 1973 and 1999. It wasn't hot everywhere: here in East Scotland for example it was 18-19C, and in the west of Scotland it was only  13.2C at Baltasound (Shetland). Like all of this summer's heatwaves, the heat was short-lived: the next day it was much cooler, but still warm, with a high of 26.8C at Hurn near Bournemouth on the 16th. There were some unusually early frosts late in the month. On average it most mosty dry (77% rainfall) and sunny (117%). The temperature fell to -5.0C at Altnaharra on the 24th and Braemar on the 27th.

October. Very unsettled. It was a very wet (142% of average rainfall) and very dull (72%) month. It was particularly wet in the east. It was the fifth wettest and fifth dullest on record. About average temperatures overall, although days were slightly cooler and nights slightly warmer than average. The 3rd has been declared the wettest day, on average, across the UK, on record (since August 1986), with a nationwide average of 31.7 mm. The highest temperature of the month was 19.1C at Writtle (Essex) on the 8th and the lowest -3.3C at Tyndrum (Perthshire) on the 15th. 127.1 mm of rain fell at Fettercairn (Kincardineshire) on the rain day 3-4th.

November. Overall quite a mild, dry, dull month. It was a mixed month with some wet interludes with a couple of colder snaps. It was quite a southerly month. Towards the end of the month fog was widespread. Both maxima and minima were above average. The CET was 8.5 (+1.4C), the 13th= mildest since 1659. Rainfall was 84% of average and sunshine 93%[ it tended to be drier the further east you went. The highest temperature of the month was 18.4C on the 1st at Thornes Park (West Yorkshire) and Hawarden (Clwyd); the lowest temperatue of the month was -6.1C at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) and Cromdale (Morayshire) on the 29th. 129.2 mm of rain fell at Skye Alltdearg House (Invernessshire) on the rain day ending on the 12th.

December. Overall slightly milder than average. Cool first week, then mild and windy, with colder final week. Storm Bella brought stronger winds, rain, cold, and some snow, on the 26th. It was a wet month, with 135% of average rainfall, and slightly duller than average (93%), and particularly so in the north. The highest temperature of the month was 14.9C at Prestatyn in Clwyd on the 18th, and the lowest -10.2C at Dalwhinnie on the 30th.