This year saw a new record high for January and indeed any winter month, 19.9 at Achfary in the NW Highlands. The very wet weather of 2023 continues into the first part of the year: the 18 month period between October 2022 and March 2024 was the wettest 18 month spell in England since records began (in 1836, 1696 mm).

January. An eventful month. There was a cold northerly outbreak midmonth. There were frequent snow showers, particularly across northern and northeastern Scotland, but also affecting the south. The lowest temperture of the spell was -14.0 at Dalwhinnie on the morning of the 17th, the lowest January in the UK temperature since 2019. Then Storm Isha unusually affects nearly all of the UK with severe gales and heavy rain. The strongest gust recorded was 99 mph at Brizlee Wood near Alnwick (Northumberland). Then two days later Storm Jocelyn arrived, brining more rain and very strong winds, with 97 mph recorded at Capel Curig. Then on Sunday 28th 19.6º C was recorded at Kinclochewe (Wester Ross, Highland), beating the previous January high by 1.3º. The warmth was due to a Foehn effect combined with very warm air being drawn up from Africa. It is later reported that Achfary (NW Higlands) recorded 19.9 the same day - a new UK record for January and indeed for any winter month in Scotland. There was a notable fall of Saharan dust, carried by the same plume of warm air, across the British Isles the same day, most noticeable of course across the south. On the 25th, Gavarda, SE Spain, recorded 30.7C, the new highest temperature ever recorded in Europe in January.

February. Very mild but generally wet. On the CET scale (since 1658), at 7.8 ºC, it was the second mildest on record, beaten only by 1779 (7.9), and was warmer than the long-term March average.  On the UK wide scale it was the second warmest February since 1884 (6.3) C, after 1998 (6.8C0. On Thursday 15th it reached 18.1C at Pershore (Worcs.) and Teddington (west London). It was mostly unsettled, with a cold spell, with disruptive snow in places, lasting a few days in the north from the 6th; it never quite reached the south, which only really saw cooler weather for a few days from the 24th. It was very wet in the south, with many places setting new daily rainfall records, and many locations reaching the February average only half way through the month. Heavy rain on the 22nd caused flooding in the south. Indeed it was the wettest February on record in the south, with 239% of the average; however, parts of Scotland (including my station in Angus) were somewhat drier than average. East Anglia had both its wettest and warmest February on record. 86.9 mm of rain fell on the recording day 17-18th at White Barrow on Dartomor (Devon). The lowest temperature of the month was -13.8 at Altnharra on the 8th. It is worth nothing that four of the warmesst Februarys since 1889 have been in the last six years - 2023, 2023, 2022, and 2019.

March. An unsettled month, wet and dull. The month started cold, with snow in the SW on the 2nd, but then became mostly very mild across much of the country, although there was a cooler spell towards the end. The result was that overall the month was milder than average, but it was particularly warm in the south; for England it was the 7th warmest March since 1884. Rainfall was above average, with 127% of the average for the UK. This average conceals a pattern where parts of Scotland were a little drier than average, but the south of England was extremely wet. The UK average sunshine total was 95.2 hours (87%). The highest temperature of the month was 18.8 at Charlwood (Surrey) on the 20th, and the lowest -6.9 at Altnaharra on the 26th. A very deep area of low pressure (956 mbars at centre) was centred over the UK on the 27th. It brought some snow with heavy rain in the SW on the night of the 27-28th, and some severe thunderstorms on the 28th from the SW to East Midlandl; there was a report of hailstones measuring up to 6.5cm across at Stowehill (Northants.).

April. Overall unsettled, wet, and dull. There was a mild and wet first half, with a northerly second half. It was rather drier in the second half with an area of high pressure building from the 20th to the 25th. Storm Kathleen brought heavy rain and gales particularly to the north and west on the 5-6th. A new high temperature record for Northern Ireland in April was set on the 21st, as it reached 19.3C at Castlederg (Co. Tyrone). A vigorous cold front moving south on 15 April brought snow, hail, heavy showers, strong winds, and even possible tornadoes at Newcastle-under-Lyme (Staffs.) and Nottingham in the morning. Northerlies made the second half of the month much cooler. The warm first half was cancelled by the cool second half, so overall temperatures were close to average. It was a wet month across the UK, with an average of 111 mm (155%). Scotland and Northern England were particularly wet, especially in the Edinburgh region, which recorded more than 200% of the April average (second wettest on record there from 1836). It was a dull month, with 122.9 hours of sunshine on average across the UK (79%). The highest temperature of the month was 21.8 C at Erittle (Essex) on the 13th, although it reached 20.9 at Santon Downham (Suffolk) as early as the 6th. The lowest was -6.3 at Shap (Cumbria) on the 26th. Deepest snow depth was  2 cm at Kinross on the 5th.

May. The night of Friday 10 May saw the best auroral display since October 2003. There was very heavy rain on the 22nd; a young person died in a mudslide at Carlton-in-Cleveland on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. The wet spell continued on Thursday 23rd, leading to serious flooding around Edinburgh. Many drivers were stuck for several hours when the City Bypass, the A720, flooded. 111 mm of rain was recorded over 36 hours near Penicuik.