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Wild Weather in 2012: North West

2012's record-breaking weather events have caused widespread damage and disruption in the region. With the help of extraordinary footage captured by people caught up in those events, BBC Weather Presenter Dianne Oxberry looks back at a dramatic year which has had a profound impact on the lives of many, and which demands a rethink in the way we design our world.

Release date:

29 minutes

Last on

Sun 30 Dec 2012 17:30
BBC One North West

Weather in the North West 2012

Weather in the North West 2012
  • The winter of 2011/12 was much milder than the previous three winters. The lowest temperature was -9.9C at Alston, Cumbria on 3 February. There were minor snowfalls in early February and in April Alston recorded 15cm, but no significant snowfall events. 


  • During a spell of fine, sunny weather in late March, the temperature reached 22C at Stonyhurst, Lancashire, the highest March temperature at this station in records from 1914.


  • The warmest day of the year was 25 May. The temperature reached 28C at St Bees Head, Cumbria – unusual for being both relatively early in the year and at a coastal location. The last 10 days of May saw a rare spell of fine, warm, sunny weather in an otherwise very poor summer.


  • Around 50 to 80mm of rain fell across much of Lancashire and West Yorkshire on 22 June, with 100 to 200mm in 24 hours across the high ground of the Lake District. Darwen, Oldham, Wigan, Todmorden, Croston, Bacup, Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge were all affected by flooding.


  • On 28 June, a line of thunderstorms moved from the Lancashire coast/Morecambe Bay area around late morning to reach the Newcastle area later in the day. Rainfall totals exceeded 25mm per hour and there was vigorous lightning activity. The storms brought widespread flash flooding.


  • From 6 to 7 July, over 50mm fell across much of the south Pennines – in some locations more than the average rainfall for the whole of July, and there was further heavy rainfall in this area again on 9 July. 

  • It was the driest, and warmest, March across the region for more than 50 years with only a third of average rainfall. North West England largely avoided the drought problems further south because 2011 overall was a relatively wet year across much of the region.


  • By contrast, both April and the period June to September all saw well above average rainfall, often 150 to 200% of average. It was the wettest April to September in the last 100 years by a margin equivalent to an extra month’s rainfall. 

Source: Met Office, National Climate Information Centre, October 2012


Notes: The figures cover January-October 2012.  They include the wider North West and Cumbria areas. 

The science behind wild weather

The science behind wild weather

BBC weatherman Nick Miller looks at the science behind what happened to Britain's weather in 2012.


He explains meteorologists' latest theories about why the weather in 2012 was so different from normal.


Nick Miller meets the Met Office's Adam Scaife and meteorologist Len Shaffrey to find out why the jet stream's unusual behaviour had such an impact on the UK's weather in 2012.


Watch the video feature on the BBC News website.