WEATHER ANALYSES FOR 2008

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MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEWS AND CLIMATOLOGICAL SUMMARIES

January

Headline: Very mild with no snowfall recorded at Pitsford and only brief air frost. Above average rainfall.

February

Headline: Windy at either end of the month, but mainly anticyclonic and very dry. The driest February since 1998.

March

Headline: Unsettled. Frequently very windy with outbreaks of rain, hail, sleet and snow.

April

Headline: Below average temperatures for a large part of the month. Frequent showers

May

Headline: High pressure dominated the weather for much of the month giving a protracted dry spell for the first fortnight. Most of the month’s rain fell in a few days towards the end of the month linked to a slow moving depression to the south-west

June

Headline: A fairly average month temperature-wise, despite a notable warm spell during the second week. Drier than normal and sunnier, but still rather changeable at times.

July

Headline: Cool and unsettled at the start, becoming drier and very warm at times later.

August

Headline: The dullest August in Northampton since 1986. Frequent showers and longer spells of rain made it also the wettest August since 2004.

September

Headline: A month of two halves: cyclonic at the start with frequent showers and some torrential downpours of rain, then a prolonged spell of dry and settled weather as high pressure remained resident across the UK.

October

Headline: Becoming mild with a short Indian summer experienced around the 12th, but becoming bitterly cold towards the end with some unusually early snowfall.

November

Headline: Unsettled during the first part of the month with rain, heavy at times, and a mild south-westerly airstream. Turning much colder later and ending the month raw.

December

Headline: Generally cold with temperatures significantly below average. Dry with above average sunshine. 

CLIMATOLOGICAL STATISTICS FOR 2008


Air Temperatures     
The Highest Maximum:    28.7 C on 28th July
The Lowest Maximum:    -0.1 C on 31st December
The Highest Minimum:    16.4 C on 27th July
The Lowest Minimum:    -4.9 C on 17th February
The Mean Maximum:    13.9 C   
The Mean Minimum:    6.3 C   
The Overall Mean:    10.2 C   
Difference from the Yearly Mean: -0.1 C   
     
Black Bulb     
Maximum (at 0900):    35.0 C on 9th June
Mean (at 0900):    12.4 C   
     
Relative Humidity:     
Highest Relative Humidity (at 0900):  1st,4th,9th,11th,28th January;
4th,18th,19th,20th February;
31st March;
27th September;
5th October;
4th,6th.18th, 29th November;
9th,12th,14th,16th,31st December 

Lowest Relative Humidity (at 0900):  44.8 % on 1st July
Mean Relative Humidity (at 0900):  84.9 %   
     
Dew Point:     
The Highest Dew Point (0900):   18.6 C on 27th July
The Lowest Dew Point (at 0900):  -6.0 C on 25th March
The Mean Dew Point (at 0900):      3.2C
     
Rainfall:     
Total:      698.6 mm   
Percentage of the Yearly Mean:  107.1 %   
Duration:     536.2 hrs   
Highest 24 hour fall (0900 to 0900):  32.7 mm on 6th September
Rain Days (>/=0.2mm):    158    
Wet Days (>/=1.0mm):    120    
     
Sunshine:     
Total Duration of Bright Sunshine:  1439.2 hrs   
Sunniest day:     13.6 hrs on 21st July
No. of days without sunshine:   62    
Percentage of the Yearly Mean:  108.8 %   
Cloud cover (mean at 0900):   5.7 oktas   
     
Pressure (reduced to sea level at 0900):     
The Highest Pressure:    1044.8 mb on 16th February
The Lowest Pressure:    965.8 mb on 10th March
Mean Pressure:     1014.1 mb   
     
Winds     
Run of wind (mean over 24 hrs):  127.7 miles   
Mean daily wind speed:    6.9 mph   
Run of wind (cumulative):   46762 miles   
Highest Maximum Gust:   60 mph on 29th February
No. of gusts of 50mph or more:   7    
Highest wind strength (at 0900):  46.1 mph on 31st January
Mean wind strength (at 0900):   8.8 mph   

     
Winds from the Following Directions:     
N	28
NE	32
E	33
SE	25
S	79
SW	69
W	38
NW	49
Calm 	13

     
Concrete     
Lowest Concrete Minimum:   -8.5 C on 17th February
Mean Concrete Minimum:   4.8 C   
     
Evaporation     
Piche      758.1 ml   
Pan      587.4 mm        

Days with:     
Thunder:     5    
Hail <5mm:     10    
Hail >/=5mm:     0    
Snow or snow & rain:    11
Snow lying:     2    
Fog:      14    
Air Frost:     36    
Duration of Air Frost:    195 hrs   
Gales:      0    
     

Wettest month:    94.4 mm in  September
Driest month:     18.0 mm in  February
Warmest month:    16.7 C~ in  July
Coolest month:     3.7 C~ in  December
Sunniest month:    219.4 hrs in  June
Dullest month:     39.0 hrs in  November
Windiest month:    10.6 mph~ in  January
Calmest month:    4.3 mph~ in  September
     
~ averages    

Overall 2008 was very slightly cooler than the 1971 to 2000 average. Since 1980 only 5 other years have been cooler whereas most years over the same period have recorded above average temperatures. There were no record breaking temperatures during the summer. In fact, temperatures in Northamptonshire failed to reach 30C with the highest being a comparatively modest 28.7C on the 28th July. In fact we have to go back to 2006 before we see temperatures exceeding 30C. Snow fell on 11 days in 2008, compared to just 8 days in 2007, although only 2 days this year saw a covering of snow on the ground at 0900hrs. Incidents of air frost were also greater this year – temperatures fell below freezing on 36 days amounting to 195 hours compared with just 30 days last year. The year came to a very cold end with the coldest December recorded in Northampton since 2001 (-0.8C on average cooler) with the coldest day of the year falling on New Year's Eve when the daytime maximum failed to climb above freezing.

In terms of rainfall, the total of 698.6mm this year was close to the average and significantly less than fell last year which was one of the wettest years on record. Despite the average rainfall this year, its distribution across the year was very erratic. Between January and June the months alternated between above average and below average rainfall, although totals increased month on month between June and September culminating in an exceptionally wet summer. It was the wettest August since 2004 with 86.0mm and September was even wetter with 94.4mm with 32.7mm falling in just one day on 6th September. The same pattern of above and below average rainfall then marked the remainder of the year culminating with the driest December in Northampton since 2004.

2008 was also a fairly average year in terms of sunshine. 1439.2 hrs  of bright sunshine were recorded during the course of the year. Some months had some exceptionally sunny days including most notably February (109.2hrs) and June (219.4hrs). In fact, most months had above average sunshine, but it was the lack of sunshine in August especially and also September that reduced the average for the year. Surprisingly, December nationally was the sunniest on record and with 48.8 hours recorded at Pitsford it was sunnier even than November.