Winter 2011/2012: The final verdict
Winter this year has confounded most long range forecasts issued last autumn, turning out to be mild, averaged over December, January and February (Climatological winter).
Talk of huge snowfalls, and the likelihood of another severe winter which were lapped up by an ever eager media, were wide of the mark.
The only notable cold spell, which brought to some areas the only snow of winter, occurred during early February.
One of the most interesting features of winter was the fact that this intense cold spell, which resulted in the equal coldest February temperature ever recorded in Lincolnshire, was cancelled out by the exceptionally mild spell which resulted in near record levels of warmth later in the month.
A significant new record was set on the 28th February, with Durham reporting 17.4C, the highest February temperature in 132 years of data
For these reasons, February has turned out to be slightly milder than average, across the UK as a whole.
Most attention though is focused on the lack of rainfall that some areas have experienced.
England only received 82% of normal rainfall this winter, with eastern and southern areas seeing the least.
Western areas of the UK had above average rainfall and this is why reservoirs in Pennine areas are mostly full to overflowing, which will be crucial should spring and summer remain dry across Yorkshire, as bore holes in East Yorkshire are badly depleted.
Lincolnshire, subject to a drought order since last summer, is desperately in need of a wet spring to prevent further restrictions being imposed.
It's worth remembering that the serious drought and water restrictions in the summer of 1976 was not just because of the prolonged heat wave. The previous summer of 1975 was dry, as was the winter of 1975/76.
As for the first half of March, some southern and central parts of the UK could see some useful rainfall this weekend.
After that, weather patterns suggest that rainfall will continue to be below average in eastern and southern areas, where it is needed most.
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