January second wettest in 248 years

Tuesday 4 February 2014, 12:22

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

With no sign of any change to prevailing weather conditions, it’s turning into a remarkable winter.


Based on the England and Wales rainfall data set, the longest of its kind anywhere in the world which began in 1766, January was the second wettest on record, beaten only by January 1948.


And, according to Philip Eden writing in the Sunday Telegraph, January has turned out to be the most cyclonic January in 142 years of records.


It graphically illustrates the complete lack of settled weather throughout the month.


Most notable for rainfall has been South East and Central Southern England; both areas have had their wettest January since modern records began in 1910.


In our region, Coningsby in Lincolnshire recorded 90.2mm of rain, compared with the average of 49.9mm. This was just short of the station’s record which was set in 1988 (93.6mm).


At Leeming in North Yorkshire 114.8mm of rain fell, compared with the average of 54.9mm. This was short of the record which was set in 1948 (128.8mm).


Let’s not forget December was the stormiest December since statistical analysis of pressure patterns began in 1969; it was also the windiest of any month since 1993.


The UK’s weather will continue to be dominated by low pressure at least until the middle of February, with further appreciable rainfall to come.


As a consequence winter 2013/2014 is sure to end up one of the wettest on record.  


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I recorded 153.2mm for January in Sheffield and every single day we had some rain with 36 wet days up to the 2nd of February.

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    Comment number 2.

    bet they'll still be talking about a hosepipe ban if we get a couple of weeks of dry weather!

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    Comment number 3.

    "bet they'll still be talking about a hosepipe ban if we get a couple of weeks of dry weather"

    I wouldn't be surprised, "it was the wrong rain"

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    Comment number 4.

    The pressure patterns through this winter are/have been similar to recent "washout summers"-with lows coming in from the SW relentlessly.Obviously being winter-these systems pack a punch and coming in from a more southerly direction it's been S/SW England/Wales in the front line.In a more"normal" winter-NW Scotland & the Northern Isles would be getting all this. Of course-the trade off is that it's been mild with virtually no frost.My geraniums are still wintering well in the greenhouse(usually have to bring them inside). Also-being mobile-we haven't had much antycylonic gloom.Many days have been bright and breezy.We done OK here in Yorks.

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    Comment number 5.

    Building on earlier predictions I've made under these blog posts in recent weeks, I'm going for:
    - wettest UK winter (Dec-Feb) ON RECORD (beginning from 1909-10) with around 500 mm of rain;
    - stormiest (windiest and probably the most cyclonic and with the lowest mean pressure) UK winter in records going back to 1968-69;
    - least snowy winter in records since 1909-10 (in terms of snow depth and duration and geographic extent, not number of days with slight snow or sleet falling and/or briefly accumulating - which may have been numerous in the highest parts of eg the Scottish Highlands due to the large number of wet days and the fact that temperatures have fallen a little from their very high levels of early December);
    - third mildest UK winter on record in records from 1909-10, with a mean temperature of around 4.4 C or 4.5 C (slightly cooler than 1988-89 and 2006-07).

    I note that UK-wide January 2014 was the third wettest on record. And the mean temperature was 4.8 C (not 4.9 C which was the case to 28 Jan). Something in the range from 5.7 C to 6.0 C could well occur for February. The February mean would have to narrowly beat the record and extraordinary warmth of 1998 in order for this winter to be the mildest on record. So one superlative is unlikely to be achieved.

    But it has not really been a winter and does not currently look like being so by this month's end. The rain may shift north a little dragging up some tropical air towards the south and east.

    Perhaps it will snow briefly in March or April.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Sorry a silly TYPO. It MEANT to type mean temperature of 5.4 C or 5.5 C! (I also don't know much about how un-snowy SOME past UK very mild winters were - eg 1934-35 appears to have been very dry as well as very mild. And from memory I think 1988-89 and 1997-98 also saw very little lying snow.)

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Sorry again - I thought I recalled that 1934-35 was dry, but it seems NOT.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

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    Comment number 9.

    Think this may be what Paul was referring to:

    There are also some suggestions eg at Wales Online that Saturday's gale may be worse than the one tonight and tomorrow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Duh - the Eden article dates from LAST month not this month.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    So now the claims about warming driving the storms.

    Yes the models show this but history shows the opposite. The LIA weather was wet and stormy with the worst ever recorded storm in 1703, far worse than the last few.. Warmer climates have calmer weather.

    To go down the record route requires longer time spans than 20 years or so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    In the UK-wide record which starts in 1910/11, this past Dec/Jan period was the wettest. Total average rainfall across the UK was 368.5mm.

    January 1948 was 4th wettest, just behind 2014, which was 3rd. The wettest January UK-wide was in 1928, and 2008 was second wettest. But in all of those other years, January was preceded by a December with below average rainfall; whereas December 2013 had well above average rainfall and was the 6th wettest on record.

    If February 2014 average UK-wide rainfall exceeds 116.5mm, which is ~ 30mm above the February average, then winter 2013/14 will be the wettest on record for the UK.

    Who would bet against that, considering what we've already seen and what is forecast?

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    11. John Marshall

    "To go down the record route requires longer time spans than 20 years or so."

    But apparently 15 or 16 years is sufficient time to declare a global warming trend null and void?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

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    Comment number 15.

    @12 newdwr54

    Average rainfall across the UK and variances are pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things - as are average temperatures and var. - and it is unlikely either can offer insight into global trends, UK is just too small.

    Yes it was certainly very wet in places - mainly central southern england the W and SW. But the description you give masks reality and contrast. Here in E Lincs we had just 21.2mm of rain in December 2013 - not "well above average" (the reverse) and certainly not the "6th wettest on record". January was much wetter than December with an above average 81.6mm but probably not record breaking - not much comfort to those folk flooded.

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    Comment number 16.

    15. chris

    I agree that average UK regional rainfall and temperatures have a limited impact on global averages. I don't think I suggested otherwise. In the same way, local rainfall and temperatures have a limited impact on UK regional averages.

    Nevertheless, the UK averages are the official long term indexes for this entire region. Obviously there will be local and temporal variations that make up the long term regional averages. But that doesn't mean that records and trends in the long term regional average are meaningless in the context of determining regional climate changes and trends.

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    Comment number 17.

    The weather may not have been cold this winter, however it has been pretty lousy. I suspect that just before the sun shut down for a Maunder period there was a last burst of energy which upset the gulf stream. However the USA is going through a 1 in 30 winter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    #13 newdwr54.

    No the ''warming trend'' is model based not data based. The models are so wrong they can be ignored now. Climate does NOT trend it cycles.

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    Comment number 19.

    @17 UKIP

    The USA had the 3rd coldest DEC/JAN in 30 years (according to Dr Roy), which means it isn't a 1 in 30 winter. More like 1 in 10?

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    As I have always said, weather and climate are random and we have no power over the forces of nature. Climate change has been ongoing for millions of years without any input from mankind and the MMCC theory has spawned the biggest con in the history of the world. The "climate scientists" are so afraid of the truth coming out that I am more convinced than ever that they make up as they go along.


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