Warm autumn weather 2011

Satellite image 29 September

A period of unseasonably warm, settled weather in late September and early October brought sunshine and temperatures of up 29.9 °C to many parts of the UK. Accurate forecasting by the Met Office allowed businesses and organisations to plan accordingly so the nation could enjoy the warm spell.

Background

On 23 September, the Met Office forecast that many parts of the UK would see fine weather for the last few days of September and into the beginning of October for England and Wales. Chris Tubbs, Met Office Chief Forecaster said: "temperatures could be unseasonably warm in places, certainly well above average for the time of year."

The forecast for warm weather was widely communicated across national media - making front page news - and on the Met Office website plus our  Facebookand  Twitteraccounts. We also released a YouTube video explaining the forecast and the reasons behind the warm spell.

UK set for late September heat
Paul Gundersen, Deputy Chief Forecaster, explains why most of the UK is experiencing a late September "heatwave" and how long it will last.

How we did

Met Office 'heat wave' time line
27 SeptemberAs forecast, mist and low cloud gradually cleared away and much of the UK saw clear skies and sunshine during the day. Achieved
28 SeptemberThe majority of the UK saw warm weather and sunshine with temperatures reaching 26 °C, in line with the forecast from the Met Office. Achieved
29 SeptemberWith the exception of Scotland and Northern Ireland as expected, the settled weather continued and temperatures exceed 27 °C. Achieved
30 SeptemberAgain, it was unseasonably warm with unbroken sunshine for much of England and Wales as forecast. Temperatures up to 29.2 °C. Achieved
1 OctoberThe hot spell continued and temperatures exceed the current October record, reaching 29.9 °C at Gravesend in Kent. Achieved
2 OctoberEngland and Wales continued to experience settled weather, with temperatures again reaching 29 °C in some areas. Achieved

The end of the hot, sunny spell was also well forecast.

The change to more normal autumnal weather, with rain and cooler temperatures across Northern Ireland and Northern Scotland was accurately forecast to arrive on Friday 30 September.

The Atlantic weather front introducing this cooler weather pushed slowly south and east through the weekend and into the start of the following week. As forecast this brought the return of cloudier skies to southern England by Tuesday 4 October and temperatures some 10 °C cooler than just a few days earlier.

Temperature statistics

Date

Previous maximum temperature

New maximum temperature (provisional)

October (UK)29.4 °C March, Cambridgeshire 198529.9 °C Gravesend, Kent 2011
October (Wales)26.4 °C Ruthin, Denbighshire 198528.2 °C Harwarden, Flintshire 2011
29 September27.8 °C York 189528.8 °C Kew Gardens 2011
30 September27.8 °C Maidenhead, Berkshire 190829.2 °C Sutton Bonnington, Notts, and Cambridge 2011
1 October29.4 °C March, Cambridgeshire 198529.9 °C Gravesend, Kent 2011
2 October28.1 °C Whitby, North Yorkshire 190829.3 °C Coningsby, 2011

Last updated: 6 October 2011