The averaging period used for the following assessment was 1961-1990.
Mean temperatures ranging from slightly below average across parts of eastern Scotland to around 1 °C above average across Northern Ireland. Coldest December for the Scotland E climate area since 2001. Rainfall across the UK generally close to average, but with some stations in NW England recording over 150% of average rainfall. Sunshine generally close to or above average across the UK. Over double the average sunshine across parts of northern Scotland, with the Scotland N climate area having its sunniest December (areal series back to 1929).
Longtown (Herefordshire) recorded a temperature of 16.5 °C on 6th. Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) recorded a temperature of -13.0 °C on 22nd
England diary of highlights
The month divided into three roughly equal parts - an unsettled period for about the first third of the month, followed by a generally anticyclonic spell and further unsettled weather for the remainder of the month.
1st to 10th: Very unsettled with a sequence of depressions and their associated frontal systems coming in off the Atlantic across north-west Europe. Frequent wet and sometimes windy spells, particularly in western areas, interspersed with clearer or brighter and showery weather. The 2nd of the month was very windy with gusts of 60 to 70 m.p.h. in some southern and western areas. With winds from the west or south-west, temperatures were generally above normal. The temperature reached 16.5 °C at Longtown (Herefordshire) on the 6th.
11th to 21st: A large high pressure area became established over northern Europe and extended westwards to cover much of the UK. This was a dry spell of weather with little if any rain and often quite sunny skies by day. Much colder at night with frequent frosts and some areas of fog. Kielder Castle (Northumberland) recorded a temperature of -9.2 °C on 17th and Upper Lambourn (Berkshire) recorded -9.8 °C on 20th.
22nd to 31st: The area of high pressure moved away at the start of this period allowing Atlantic weather systems to return, bringing a resumption of the often wet and windy weather, but with some drier and clearer conditions between. A band of rain moved south-east across most areas through Christmas Day, and this was followed by a band of heavy showers into NW England during the evening. The month ended with cloudy and sometimes wet weather, particularly over northern England although winds were quite light.
Wales diary of highlights
A dry spell mid-month but otherwise very unsettled, wet and sometimes windy.
1st to 10th: Very unsettled with a constant stream of depressions and their associated frontal systems coming in off the Atlantic across north-west Europe. Frequent, wet and sometimes windy spells, interspersed with clearer or brighter and showery weather. The 2nd of the month was very windy with gusts of 60-70 m.p.h. in places. With winds from the west or south-west, temperatures were generally above average. Prestatyn (Denbighshire) recorded a temperature of 16.2 °C on 6th.
11th to 21st: A complete change as a large area of high pressure became established over northern Europe and extended westwards to cover much of the UK. A dry spell of weather with little if any rain and often quite sunny skies by day. Much colder at night with frequent frosts and some lingering fog patches as well. Betws-Y-Coed (Conwy) recorded a temperature of -6.1 °C on 17th and Capel Curig (Conwy) recorded -8.3 °C on 21st.
22nd to 31st: The area of high pressure moved away at the start of this period allowing Atlantic weather systems to return, bringing a resumption of the often wet and windy weather, but with some drier and clearer conditions between. Rain clearing away south-east early on Christmas Day, but with some heavy showers for a time during the evening. The month ended with cloudy and sometimes wet weather although winds were quite light.
Scotland diary of highlights
Mean temperatures and rainfall close to average, but sunshine ranging from close to average in the south to exceptionally above average over northern Scotland.
Persistent and locally heavy rain across southern and eastern Scotland cleared early on the 1st, with frequent blustery, occasionally heavy showers (with mountain snow) following, although some eastern areas were largely dry. Showers continued through the night into the 2nd, these most frequent in the north-west but a more persistent area of rain, locally heavy in the south-west, affected the south through the morning and early afternoon before clearing south-eastwards. Sunny intervals and scattered showers on the 3rd, the showers mainly in the north and north-east.
Cloudy with rain on the 4th, this heaviest in the west with 30 mm reported at Stornoway (Western Isles), and mild with a temperature of 15.3 °C at Kinlochewe (Highland). It was also windy with gales in the west. A brighter day on the 5th, particularly in the east, but heavy, blustery showers affected the west with occasional thunder and severe gales in the north-west.
Rain pushed north-east on the 6th with showers following into the west and gales or severe gales developed in the north-west. Severe gales in the north, with Rosehearty (Aberdeenshire) having a gust of 75 m.p.h. during the early hours on the 7th. This eased to leave a bright and showery day, the showers heaviest and most frequent in the north and west. After a mainly dry but chilly start to the 8th, a band of quite heavy rain, falling as snow at times especially on high ground, moved north-eastwards through the country. On the 9th, a strong and cold northerly wind brought cloudy skies and showers or longer spells of rain, especially to the north and east, with snow falling on the higher hills.
Bright or sunny skies, with a few showers in the north and west on the 10th and a widespread frost during the evening. The 11th was mainly dry although some patchy rain reached the far west during the evening.
The 12th to the 14th was generally mild and cloudy in the west with some patchy rain, but dry with bright or sunny intervals in the east with local overnight frosts.
From the 15th to the 21st it was dry with some long sunny spells and widespread, locally severe frosts, temperatures locally fell to -10 °C on most nights with -13.0 °C recorded at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) during the evening of the 21st, and the frost persisting all day in places especially across northern parts. However southern areas became cloudier from the 18th with extensive freezing fog patches across the Central Lowlands and the Moray Firth from the 18th to the 21st.
On the 22nd, a band of rain moved eastwards across the country, the rain falling onto freezing surfaces in places and giving icy stretches on roads and pavements before clearing east during the afternoon to leave bright or clear intervals and scattered showers. Mainly dry and bright during daylight hours of the 23rd, but rain reached the north-west in the evening. The rain cleared early on the 24th with some sunny spells developing later with a few showers affecting the north-west and a widespread frost set in during the afternoon and evening.
Christmas Day was dry and bright in most places with a widespread frost away from the west coast, with temperatures falling to -8.0 °C in Aboyne. However, showers affected the north-west during the day with a band of more persistent rain moving east across all parts during the early evening. Winds became strong with gales in the north-west. On the 26th, strong to gale force south-westerly winds bought milder conditions and some persistent and heavy rain, especially to northern Argyll and the north-west Highlands but the east remained dry.
The 27th started off windy with heavy showers and gusts of 70 m.p.h. at Tiree (Inner Hebrides) and 61 m.p.h. at Edinburgh Gogarbank, the showers dying out in the east with some brighter spells developing. More persistent rain reached the southern half of Scotland during the evening with ground frost in the north. The 28th started cloudy and wet, the rain mostly dying out during the morning with heavy showers following in the afternoon and 40 mm of rain was recorded at Eskdalemuir (Dumfries & Galloway). On the 29th, a band of rain in the far north sank southwards in the afternoon but fragmented as it did so. Meanwhile, another band of rain pushed across southern Scotland in the morning, this giving some snow on the hills before dying out in the afternoon.
A frosty start and end to the day across the north and north-east on the 30th with long clear or sunny spells, however the rest of the country was generally cloudy with patchy light rain or drizzle. A band of rain edged south-east through the 31st becoming slow moving across the south of the country during the evening, with drier conditions following across the north-west and a local frost developing here during the evening.
Northern Ireland diary of highlights
Mean temperatures around 1 °C above average for December, leading to 2007 being the warmest year in the Northern Ireland areal series, which began in 1914.
The 1st saw blustery, occasionally heavy showers and sunny or clear spells, the showers most frequent in the north-west with an occasionally strong south-westerly wind. Cloud and outbreaks of rain spread east overnight before clearing south-eastwards towards midday on the 2nd with a brighter/clearer showery north-westerly airstream following. Sunny intervals and a scattering of showers on the 3rd but clouding over in the evening with patchy rain. Generally cloudy with patchy rain on the 4th but mild with a temperature of 14.9 °C at Ballykelly (Londonderry) and quite windy with gale force gusts. A brighter day on the 5th, but with blustery showers. The 6th was cloudy with rain or showers, with heavy rain affecting Fermanagh late in the day. A much brighter day on the 7th with sunny spells and blustery showers.
The 8th started wet and cold, with some heavy rain and local flooding reported around Killowen (Down) where 45.8 mm of rain fell during the day. The rain persisted into the early afternoon before the weather turned brighter and more showery. The showery and cold weather persisted into the 9th and the north-westerly wind reached gale force on the north coast later in the day. The winds eased as the showers died out on the 10th, which turned out to be bright or sunny with patchy mist and ground frost developing during the evening. The 11th was dry, bright and cold at first although cloud increased later and it became milder.
The 12th to the 14th were generally cloudy and mild with some patchy light rain and the best of any brightness was across the north-east. Dry with some bright or sunny intervals on the 15th. The 16th was mainly cloudy but dry. The cloud broke overnight to leave a local frost on the morning of the 17th and a largely sunny day although cloud did increase again during the evening.
From the 18th to the 21st it remained largely dry with variable amounts of cloud and some sunny spells, especially on the 20th and 21st, but morning fog patches on the 21st were slow to clear in a few places.
On the 22nd, rain cleared during the morning leaving a day of sunny intervals and scattered showers. Dry and bright during daylight hours of the 23rd, but rain spread east during the evening. A few showers affected the north coast on the 24th but it was dry and bright elsewhere with frost and patchy fog developing during the evening. A dry Christmas morning with sunny spells and a widespread frost, minimum temperature -6.7 °C at Katesbridge (Down), but a band of rain moved east across all parts during late afternoon/early evening, followed by some showers.
The 26th, 27th and 28th were mild, with temperatures up to 12 °C, and rather cloudy with showers or longer spells of occasionally heavy rain and strong winds at times. On the 29th, a band of heavy rain moved across all parts during the morning clearing to leave a scattering of showers in the afternoon. The 30th saw variable amounts of cloud and some clear or sunny spells but also some patchy drizzle. The year ended with a mild, cloudy and damp day on the 31st as a band of rain edged south-east across the country becoming slow moving across eastern and southern counties during the late afternoon and evening.
Last updated: Feb 27, 2013 10:40 AM