Wanstead Weather: 2014 review

This year finished as the second warmest year on record after 2011.

Every month of 2014, apart from August and December, was warmer than average – the means being over 1C warmer every month, bringing the mean temperature to 12.4C, just 0.4C short of the warmest year in 2011 and 1.2C warmer than the 1981-2010 average.

The number of days with thunder was also high. Thunder has been heard in Wanstead on 19 days. In an average year we can expect thunder on only 12 days.

Rainfall is less remarkable although the year has certainly been wetter than average. The total of 746mm puts it in the top 20 per cent of years for rainfall since 1797.

There was occasional respite from the persistent rain

There was occasional respite from the persistent rain

The year began where 2013 left of: wet. Depressions whistling in off the Atlantic brought incessant rain and the wettest January for 130 years. The total, 131mm, which was 2.5 times the average for January, beat the previous record set in 1988 by just 2.8mm. Unlike 1988, January followed a December that was 1.5 times wetter than average – a wet spell that impacted the river Roding where levels ran high.

The most notable day was probably Saturday 25th when what started as a bright, fine day quickly changed around 4pm as a strong squall with heavy rain blew through with associated thunder and lightning and 6C fall in temperature in an hour.

The warm January was followed by an even warmer February with a complete absence of air frost – very unusual for what is commonly the coldest winter month. The conveyor belt of storms off the Atlantic also calmed though not before a storm on the evening of Valentine’s Day saw yet more damage, resulting in two deaths, including a man killed by a wave on a cruise ship in the Channel and a woman killed when a block of falling masonry crushed her car outside Holborn Tube station. The sheer quantity of rain also brought flooding problems around the area. It was also the first winter ever where no snow falling or lying was observed.

Wanstead Flats by Scott Whitehead

The water table appeared to come to the surface on Wanstead Flats in February

The warmest March for 74 years brought lots of gloriously sunny days, a welcome relief from the run of seemingly endless wet months. Just 25.8mm of rain fell over the 31 days – that’s 63 per cent of average. The most notable weather occurred on the 26th when the temperature fell from 10C at 1.30pm to 4C by 3pm. Heavy showers accompanied what was an utterly foul day. The cold pool persisted into the 27th with towering thunder clouds surrounding Wanstead, north, east and south.

The month ended with warm, sunny weather – the southerly flow bringing Saharan dust that deposited on cars.

April continued this year’s theme of being milder than normal; the mean temperature of 12C was 2.2C above average, making it the third warmest April since 1797.

April continued the dry theme of March. Just 19.6mm on rain fell over the 30 days – that’s 46 per cent of average.

The month saw some stunningly sunny days during the second week into the third week, though these were tempered by chilly east to north-easterly winds. The warmest day was the 21st when 21.5C was reached – the first ^70F temperature of the year.

May was also mild though the rain returned with 71mm falling – 139 per cent of average – this hindered sunshine totals to 157 hours, the dullest for 10 years. Most notable was the number of thunderstorms with four incidents of daily thunder.

This screen grab shows the thunderstorm at 4pm on 24th that saw the temperature fall nearly 6C in a matter of minutes

This screen grab shows the thunderstorm at 4pm on May 24th that saw the temperature fall nearly 6C in a matter of minutes

Though it began unsettled June became warm and dry. Just 15.2mm of rain made it the driest since 2000. The month also brought some spectacular cloudscapes thanks to the high level of thundery activity elsewhere. Though Wanstead did not hear thunder there was plenty of activity close by. It is a typical feature of summer that rainfall can vary a great deal across a small area. The nearest official station to Wanstead, St James’s Park 8.4 miles to our south-west, recorded 33.8mm – more than double what fell here.

June was marked by some spectacular cloudscapes and sunsets. This was the view across Wanstead Flats from Centre Road looking toward Ilford on the 21st

June was marked by some spectacular cloudscapes and sunsets. This was the view across Wanstead Flats from Centre Road looking toward Ilford on the 21st

Yet another occasion of impressive cloud formation during June included this example of late evening cirrus. The formation, seen at ground level, seemed similar to a display of the Aurora.

July brought perhaps the most spectacular of our weather. A heatwave brought much thundery activity in what was the 9th warmest July since 1797.

The month was marked with spectacular thunderstorms and torrential downpours, contributing to what was a much wetter than average month – some 73mm fell which is 168% of the monthly average. While on paper the month looks very wet it should be noted that 52% of the July total fell in two episodes: a stalling warm front on the 10th and a cloudburst on 25th. I was away for the thunderstorm though a friend remarked that the roads close to Redbridge Roundabout were like torrents, the rain was so intense for a short period.

The hottest day in July and the year was the 18th with 32.7C recorded. There were 12 occasions where the mercury reached or exceeded 80F.

Perhaps the most impressive thunderstorm was the development of the MCS that moved up from France during the evening of July 18th. There were numerous superb pictures but my favourite is probably this shot taken by Richard Dixon.

This shot was taken by Richard Dixon in Whitstable, Kent. It shows, perfectly, the contrast betweeen the bright orange sunset and the impending doom of the approaching MCS from the continent

This shot was taken by Richard Dixon in Whitstable, Kent. It shows, perfectly, the contrast betweeen the bright orange sunset and the impending doom of the approaching MCS from the continent

What had been a superb summer abruptly ended in August which ended cool, wet and dull. The month, the only one this year that was cooler than average, was characterised by frequent rain and the coldest August night for over 20 years.

More thunderstorms also made it a wetter than average month – some 76mm fell which is 152% of the monthly average and the wettest for 4 years. A couple of nights were notably cool for August: 5C was recorded during the early hours of the 23rd – the coldest August night since 1993.

It was yet another month where rainfall totals could vary greatly in the space of just a few miles. On the 9th a station in Woodford Green recorded 24.4mm, double what fell in Wanstead. The legacy of TS Bertha coincided with the end of our extended hot spell

On 25th a perfect curl could be seen on a depression centred off the west coast of Ireland. The rain associated with this low pressure brought the month’s highest daily rainfall total: 23.4mm (the system bringing 27.5mm) – a thoroughly miserable Bank Holiday Monday where it rained ALL day, from 6am until 9.30pm. It was yet another example of how much even frontal rainfall can vary over a small area with St James Park recording 38.2mm.

sunset overlooking Wanstead Flats 2nd August

Sunset overlooking Wanstead Flats 2nd August

In terms of weather events September was a warm and relatively quiet month save for the two thunderstorms that seemed to mark the Scottish Referendum as the results became apparent in the early hours of Friday 19th. The most notable storm happened around 3pm which brought 24.5mm of rain  with a peak rate of 76.5mm/hr at 15.47. The storm ended a run of 16 dry days. Explosive convection brought hail and rain and flooding to Hackney, Hackney Wick and Leytonstone. This storm was the result of a convergence line over London between light southerlies to the south and easterlies to the north – the heavy rain was very localised.

The month was marked with lots of dry, sunny days, the two thunderstorms on the 19th contributing 89 per cent of the rainfall for the month. It was dryer than average – the 44.8mm that fell is 86 per cent of what we would expect in a normal September. Despite this it was only the driest September here since 2011.

Save for the warmest Hallowe’en on record and a notable depression on the 21st October was a relatively quiet month.

The dry and sunny start was replaced with a very unsettled regime at the end of the first week which lasted until the end of the second week – with 39.5mm of rain falling over the 12th and 13th, a notable total for this region. It was wetter than average: 82.4mm represents 123 per cent of what we’d expect to fall in a normal October. The warmest day occurred on the 31st with 21.5C recorded. Many nights were warm with date records matched or broken. Cold nights, relative to the time of year were few.

The final month of autumn was most notable for its rainfall with 19 consecutive days of measurable precipitation and just four completely dry days .

November 22nd by Perch Pond. Drizzle early morning couple with damp air left mist floating above the surface

November 22nd by Perch Pond. Drizzle early morning couple with damp air left mist floating above the surface

November was warmer than average; the mean temperature of 8.9C was 0.9C above average, making it the 19th warmest November since 1797: 2.2C warmer than last November, though only the warmest since 2011.

The sunny and warm start on the 1st was quickly replaced with an unsettled, cooler regime week which lasted for nearly three weeks. A brief respite on the 20th was followed by more rain – with 12mm and 15.2mm on the 22nd and 23rd. It was wetter than average: 97.5mm represents 165 per cent of what we’d expect to fall in a normal November.

Despite it being wet it was only the 40th wettest November in the series back to 1797.

The warmest day occurred on the 1st with 17.2C recorded. The first frosts of autumn were recorded. The lowest temperature occurred on 24th when the mercury fell to -1.5C.

Sunshine was average with 60.5 hours recorded – that’s 103 per cent of mean. The sunniest day was on the 4th when 6 hours of sunshine were recorded.

It was the sunniest December on record in the series going back to 1979. Some 11 mornings were completely clear at the 9am observation time

It was the sunniest December on record in the series going back to 1979. Some 11 mornings were completely clear at the 9am observation time

This December was the sunniest on record in my series going back to 1877. Over 90 hours of sunshine were recorded in this area which is 224% of what we can expect to see during an average December.

Mean temperature for the month was average at 5.8C (0.2C above the 30-year average). Rainfall of 39.9mm was 75% of average – the driest since 2010.

The month was 0.7C cooler than last December – with just under half the rain that fell in that wet and stormy month.

December was warmer than average with a mean temperature of 6.5C (0.9C above the 30-year average) – ranking it 33rd in the series since 1881. Rainfall of 81.9mm was 154% of average – ranking it 22nd in the series.

The month was 1C warmer than last December – with 84% of the rain that fell in December 2012.

The first day of December was cloudy, dull and dreary with drizzle in a keen east wind. The following days alternated between rain and sun and some night frost. On the 6th the day started sunny with just a few cirrus clouds – overnight frost persisted all day in garden with a grass min at -2C. The 9th began sunny after a hard frost but then the temperature climbed for 19 hours with cloud building and brief rain at 2am before the cold front passed.

Boxing Day was cloudy and cold before rain, with snow in the north, spread in in the evening. A cold front whistled through about 12.40am on the 27th but not before the warm sector raised the temperature to 8.9C

Boxing Day was cloudy and cold before rain, with snow in the north, spread in in the evening. A cold front whistled through about 12.40am on the 27th but not before the warm sector raised the temperature to 8.9C

The wettest day occurred on the 11th. The day started sunny but blustery showers blown in on strong WSW winds coupled together with 6 hours of rain overnight produced 11.5mm.
Things turned much milder in the 3rd week with frequent, chiefly light rain, abundant sunshine and an absence of frost. On the 18th the temperature reached 14C.

Christmas Eve saw the weather begin to cool down again with progressively colder nights. Boxing Day was a cloudy, cold day with rain spreading in during the evening and a notable warm sector raising the temperature to nearly 9C at midnight. The first lowland snow of the winter was reported up north. The month ended with long sunny days and sharp frosts, a couple persisting through the day.

To view full stats follow this link:http://1drv.ms/1kiTuzv

weather stats for 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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