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February 2017

The averaging period used for the following assessment was 1981-2010.

At the start of February, a south-westerly type brought mild and unsettled weather with wet and windy weather frequently sweeping north-eastwards across the UK. Conditions became colder and quieter from the 4th onwards, with frequent easterly winds and snow for some in the second week, although the snow did not generally lie for long at low levels. From the 13th onwards it was generally mild, and after a fairly quiet spell, it turned wet and windy from the 21st onwards. Storm Doris brought damaging winds to parts of England and Wales on the 23rd, and significant snow to parts of Scotland.

The UK mean temperature was 5.3 °C, which is 1.6 °C above the 1981-2010 long-term average, making it the ninth warmest February in a series since 1910. Mean maximum temperatures were between 1.0 and 1.5°C above average across most of the country, while mean minimum temperatures were more than 2 °C above over much of England and Wales, but nearer 1 °C above over much of Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Rainfall was mostly near or rather above normal except in northern Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of the West Country, with 106% of average rainfall overall.  It was generally a dull month except in northern Scotland and parts of the West Country, but in contrast it was a very sunny February in north-west Scotland.  The UK as a whole had just 79% of average sunshine.

The UK monthly extremes were as follows:  A maximum temperature of 18.3 °C was recorded at Northolt and Kew Gardens (Greater London) on the 20th.  A minimum temperature of -9.8 °C was recorded at Altnaharra (Sutherland) on the 11th.  In the 24 hours ending at 0900 GMT on the 25th, 81.6 mm of rain fell at Honister Pass (Cumbria).  A wind gust of 82 knots (94 mph) was recorded at Capel Curig (Conwy) on the 23rd. A snow depth of 8 cm was recorded at Ardtalnaig (Perthshire) on the 8th.

Weather impacts

On the 3rd, strong winds disrupted south coast ferries, with fallen trees causing disruption in Dorset, the New Forest and Bournemouth.  On the 6th, strong winds caused localised reports of fallen trees and associated transport disruption in Northern Ireland, and ferry services in western Scotland were cancelled.   Snow and ice also caused difficult driving conditions in Highland Perthshire later that day, and jack-knifed lorries blocked the A9; also localised flooding affected rail services on the Ayrshire coast and the A90 in Fife.

Ice was an issue in western areas on the 7th/8th, causing localised travel disruption in south Wales, Northern Ireland and south-west Scotland.  On the 11th snow and ice caused difficult travel conditions for the Pennines, North York Moors and the Southern Uplands of Scotland.

After a quiet spell, Storm Doris brought widespread disruption on the 23rd.  The Dartford Crossing, the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk and the M48 Severn Bridge were all closed due to the winds, 77 flights were cancelled at Heathrow and Aer Lingus cancelled flights between the UK and Ireland. Ferry crossings were cancelled too, with widespread delays on the rail network due to speed restrictions and the closure of some lines due to fallen trees. Western Power Distribution reported having had over 17,000 customers without power in Wales, and Scottish Power Energy Networks moved to their highest emergency level due to the scale of disruption to power across North Wales and Clwyd. UK Power Networks reported 12,000 properties without power in Suffolk and around 40,000 across East Anglia, with around 5,000 outages reported across Yorkshire and Lancashire. Snow caused significant disruption in parts of central Scotland, with the M80 closed completely for a time during the morning rush hour. Trees fell onto properties in London, Birmingham and Cannock, there was widespread structural damage and there were 2 reported deaths and numerous injuries associated with windblown debris and fallen trees.

Storm Ewan was named by the Irish Met Service for the 25th and 26th but impacts were limited.  In the colder showery air mass following Storm Ewan, snow caused problems on the M74 on the afternoon of the 27th, and this spread to affect transport in the Borders, and 30-40 vehicles were stranded due to snow on the A68.

England diary of highlights

February started with a mild and wet south-westerly type, but between the 5th and 12th easterly winds prevailed and brought mostly dry but cloudy weather, with snow for many parts on the 11th and 12th but generally limited accumulations on the ground at low levels.  From the 13th onwards it was generally mild, and it was relatively quiet until the 20th but the last third of the month was unsettled and often windy.

The mean temperature for February was 1.8 °C above the 1981-2010 long-term average, and the anomaly was generally greater by night than by day.  Rainfall was 102% of average, and it was wettest relative to average in Northumberland, Humberside and Merseyside, but drier in parts of the West Country.  Sunshine was mostly below normal except in parts of Cornwall and Devon, with just 73% of average overall.

1st to 4th

The 1st was a mild, overcast day with rain spreading eastwards through all parts.  The 2nd was mild, wet and windy with 76 mph gusts recorded at Scilly St Marys Airport. The 3rd was cooler with widespread rain and strong winds across the south but it stayed much brighter in the north-east.  The 4th had a mix of sunshine and showers, the showers mostly through southern counties, and it was sunniest in Yorkshire. 

5th to 12th

There was a cool, misty start for most on the 5th, followed by a largely dry day except for early evening showers through Cornwall. There was rain for many areas on the 6th after a cold night, particularly in the north, with -6.2°C recorded at Topcliffe (North Yorkshire). It was mild across the south on the 7th but there was rain along the east coast and scattered showers elsewhere.  The 8th was sunny over the south-west, but cloudier elsewhere with showers of rain, sleet and snow in eastern counties.  There was some sunshine with a few showers in the West Country on the 9th, otherwise cloudy and cold with wintry showers along the east coast.  Wintry showers persisted in the east on the 10th, and some showers progressed westwards through the Midlands and into southern counties.  It was wet on the 11th for most places, particularly the north, and areas of rain, sleet and snow moved steadily westwards during the day.  Another area of rain, sleet and snow over the Midlands moved north during the day on the 12th, giving a snow depth of 5 cm at Copley (County Durham), before dying out by evening; the rest of the country saw scattered wintry showers.

13th to 20th

It was much milder on the 13th and dry with long periods of sunshine, with 9.5 hours recorded at East Malling (Kent).  The 14th was mild across the south-east with good sunny periods in the north and patchy rain mainly in the south-west. The 15th was mild, wet through the Midlands and Humberside later, and mostly cloudy, but with 13.7 °C recorded at Exeter Airport (Devon). It was mild and mostly cloudy on the 16th with showers for some but sunny across the far south-west. Most places had patchy rain and drizzle on the 17th, especially western coasts, with fog for central areas.  Fog in central southern and south-western parts on the 18th was slow to clear, followed by a mainly sunny day but with cloud and rain for the north.  It was sunny in the east on the 19th, foggy over western coasts and hills with patchy rain and drizzle, and dry and cloudy elsewhere.  It was dull and foggy over the south-west for most of the 20th, cloudy elsewhere with patchy rain over the north moving southwards, and very mild in the south-east with 18.3°C recorded at Northolt and Kew Gardens (both London).

21st to 28th

It started foggy in the south-west on the 21st, bright in the east but cloudy elsewhere with patchy rain, and it turned very wet from the Midlands northwards during the afternoon. Rain covered central areas for much of the 22nd, but it was mainly dry north and south of this. It was wet and windy on the 23rd with Storm Doris bringing gusts readily exceeding 60 mph around the country, and there was a gust to 87 mph at High Bradfield (South Yorkshire). After a frost in places, the 24th was more settled with plenty of sunshine before rain spread into the north-west later. There was widespread rain on the 25th, heavy across Cumbria and the Pennines.  Rain in western parts on the 26th turned heavy and spread to all parts by evening associated with Storm Ewan, and 32.4 mm fell at Kielder Castle (Northumberland), with frequent and blustery wintry showers following into the west.  Most places saw wintry showers at some point during the 27th.  It was chilly and dry in most places early on the 28th, but showers through the Cheshire Gap were replaced by more prolonged rain and wintry showers for all parts from Lancashire southwards.

Wales diary of highlights

February began mild and unsettled, but then turned colder, with easterly winds and some snow in places during the second week, although accumulations of snow were limited on low ground.  The second half of the month was mostly mild and cloudy, and the last week of the month was wet and very windy at times.

The mean temperature for February was 1.7 °C above the long-term average, and the positive anomaly was larger by night than by day.  Rainfall was above normal near north and west-facing coasts and near normal elsewhere, with 107% of average overall.  With only 62% of average sunshine, it was the sixth dullest February in a series from 1929.

1st to 7th

The 1st was mild and generally windy; after overnight rain moved away, further showery rain moved across the country during late afternoon. The 2nd was wet and windy with 83 mph gusts recorded at Capel Curig (Conwy). The 3rd was cooler, very wet with 32.2 mm of rainfall at Scolton Country Park (Pembrokeshire), and it was windy around exposed coasts.  The 4th was increasingly cloudy with rain from the west after a frosty, bright start. It was dry on the 5th, with bright spells in the north and west after a frosty start, but cloudier in the south-east. The 6th started very cold, with a minimum of -6.7°C at Llangunllo (Powys) before rain arrived for all parts, heaviest across the Vale of Glamorgan. It was bright across eastern and northern parts on the 7th with some showers and more organised areas of patchy rain. 

8th to 12th

Sunny for the west coast on the 8th, with 8.1 hours recorded at Tenby (Pembrokeshire), but cloudier elsewhere with some patchy rain.  There was some brightness down the west coast on the 9th, otherwise cloudy and cold with some places not getting above freezing.  The 10th saw hints of brightness in places, otherwise cloudy with the odd isolated wintry shower.  All areas were wet on the 11th, but the rain, sleet and snow cleared away westwards by dark.  It was cloudy on the 12th with patchy wintry precipitation in the morning, and more general rain, sleet or snow in the afternoon.

13th to 20th

The 13th was mild and dry with some sunshine, but breezy along western coasts. The 14th was rather mild, but cloudy throughout, and rain over Pembrokeshire spread east later. The 15th was a mild and mostly cloudy day, with rain mainly for southern counties. The 16th was cloudy with patchy rain, confined mostly to western parts later, and it was very mild in the evening.  It was dull with patchy rain on the 17th but the rain became mainly confined to the west. After a cloudy morning with some patchy rain on the 18th, the afternoon was drier and sunnier.  It was cloudy on the 19th with patchy rain and drizzle and afternoon coastal fog.  The 20th was generally cloudy but very mild, with before Colwyn Bay (Conwy) reaching 16.8 °C, but patchy rain and fog developed during the afternoon.

21st to 28th

It was cloudy and foggy with rain on and off throughout the day on the 21st. A mild but increasingly wet and unsettled day on the 22nd with the approach of Storm Doris saw 48.6 mm rainfall falling at Capel Curig. Doris brought very strong winds for all districts on the 23rd with 94 mph gusts recorded at Capel Curig, and rain turning more showery later. It was more settled on the 24th with widespread sunshine, 8.1 hrs recorded at St Athan (South Glamorgan), before cloud and rain arrived in the evening. It was wet everywhere on the 25th.  After patchy rain in places to start the 26th, it became wet and very windy by mid-afternoon with gusts over 60 mph especially in the north.  There was occasional sunshine mixed with showers of rain, sleet, and snow on higher ground on the 27th.  A few wintry showers over the north to start the 28th, then it became wet everywhere by noon, clearing to widespread wintry showers for the afternoon and evening.

Scotland diary of highlights

February began with a week of generally unsettled and mild weather, but the second week had frequent easterly winds, which brought cloudy skies and light wintry showers to most areas but plenty of sunshine to the north-west.  The second half was generally mild, with some sunny days in the north and east around mid-month, followed by a wet and windy last week.

The mean temperature for February was 1.3 °C above the long-term average.  It was slightly drier than average in the north but generally wetter than average in central and southern parts, with 110% of average rainfall overall.  Sunshine was 97% of average, but with marked regional variation; the north-west was much sunnier than average but it was a dull month in the Lowlands.

1st to 7th

The 1st was cloudy and mild, with strong winds along western coasts and patchy rain in south-western parts later.  The 2nd was mild again with strengthening winds, gusts reaching 85 mph at South Uist (Western Isles), and heavy rain through Argyll and Inverness-shire. The 3rd was bright across the north-east but very wet across western parts with totals approaching 30 mm across Islay, Kintyre and Galloway. The 4th was a cool, cloudy and wet day for most, with rain over north-western districts turning wintry as it moved east. Rain in south-western districts on the 5th turned wintry through the Borders, with showers later for the Western Isles and Aberdeenshire. It was wet and windy on the 6th with 82 mph gusts recorded at South Uist, brighter across Fife and Moray, but especially wet across Dumfries & Galloway and Aberdeen later. The 7th was cloudy and cool with strong winds across Shetland and prolonged rain for Ayrshire, Orkney and Aberdeen.

8th to 12th

It was sunny in the west and north on the 8th, cloudier elsewhere with wintry showers along the east coast.  The 9th and 10th continued in similar vein, with the wintry showers persisting down the east coast, becoming more widespread for a time on the 10th.  Very cold overnight into the 11th with a minimum of  -9.8°C at Altnaharra (Sutherland); dry and sunny over the north and west, but with rain, sleet and snow persisting over the east.  It was cold and cloudy with sleet showers near the east coast on the 12th, but dry and sunny in the north and west.

13th to 20th

The 13th was a dry day for all with sunny spells across western districts and a much milder feel. The 14th was mild and mostly dry with widespread sunshine across western parts. Sunny across north-eastern parts on the 15th before rain spread into western districts in the afternoon. It was mild again on the 16th and wet with overnight rain across parts of the west and north. It was sunny in the east on the 17th, cloudy elsewhere with patchy rain and drizzle over the north-west and in the Borders where it was also foggy.  Cloudy with rain on the 18th affecting all parts during the day.  It was sunny in the east on the 19th, cloudy elsewhere, with rain, drizzle and patchy fog over the west.  The 20th was sunny over Tayside and the east of Borders region, very mild too in places with 15.4°C at Inverbervie (Kincardineshire) and Mylnefield (Angus), but rain over the north and west spread steadily southwards, clearing away by midday, followed by showers, heaviest and most frequent in the west.

21st to 28th

Rain over the west on the 21st spread to all parts by evening, amounting to 50.2 mm at Cluanie Inn (Ross & Cromarty), and it also turned very windy. The 22nd saw some sunshine, but also blustery showers with the heaviest and most frequent in the north and west, and winds gusted to over 70mph in Orkney, while 8.5 hours of sunshine was recorded at Durris (Kincardineshire). The 23rd brought snow to many areas on the northern flank of Storm Doris, with 5 cm lying at Tulloch Bridge (Inverness-shire), Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) and Fettercairn (Kincardineshire), turning showery across the north-west later. Eastern parts were bright on the 24th but it turned cloudy and wet in the west later. Wet, windy and unsettled on the 25th with 67mph winds recorded at Glen Ogle.  All parts became wet and windy by early afternoon on the 26th, followed by frequent and heavy wintry showers in the west.  Wintry showers persisted over the north-west on the 27th, but it was mainly dry elsewhere until an area of snow developed over the Borders by afternoon, clearing away in the evening.  There was a mix of sunshine and wintry showers on the 28th, but the showers were mostly confined to western and northern coasts.

Northern Ireland diary of highlights

February began unsettled and mild, but it turned colder into the second week with frequent easterly winds and some wintry showers, mainly for the east.  The second half of the month was mostly mild and cloudy, and it was often wet and windy from the 21st onwards.

The mean temperature for February was 1.0 °C above the long-term average.  Rainfall was generally near or a little below normal, with 89% of average overall.  It was a cloudy month, especially in the south, with 69% of average sunshine.

1st to 7th

The 1st was a mild day, generally overcast after rain overnight which was heaviest in north-eastern parts. It turned increasingly windy on the 2nd with 62 mph gusts recorded at Magilligan (County Londonderry) and rain throughout, wettest in County Antrim. The 3rd was cooler, wet and windy with rainfall totals between 15 and 20 mm in the Belfast area. A cool bright day followed on the 4th after overnight showers spread through western parts. The 5th was largely dry and sunny after a widespread frost with -5.6°C overnight at Katesbridge (Down) and 6.0 hours of sunshine at Magilligan. The 6th was wet and windy, with gusts of 77 mph recorded at Magilligan, and Trassey Slievenaman (County Down) received 33.5 mm of rainfall. The 7th was mostly cloudy with rain across Antrim through the afternoon and evening.

8th to 12th

It was cold overnight into the 8th, leading to a chilly but sunny day.  The 9th and 10th were generally cloudy, with a few wintry showers. After a frosty start on the 11th, it was sunny in the west, but cloudy with wintry showers in the east.  It was cloudy with some isolated afternoon wintry showers on the 12th, and more general rain, sleet or snow in the evening.

13th to 20th

The 13th was milder and dry with long sunny spells although strong winds prevailed through North Channel coasts. The 14th was a cloudy day with patchy rain and strong winds along exposed north-east coasts. The 15th was cloudy and mild with showery rain spreading from the south-west during the afternoon and evening. It was mild and cloudy again on the 16th with rain across north-eastern districts later. Dull with some patchy rain, drizzle and fog on the 17th.  The 18th was cloudy with patchy light rain.  Fog in central parts cleared on the 19th to leave a mild, cloudy and damp day.  It was cloudy with patchy rain for the 20th, but turned very mild with a maximum of 14.9°C at Murlough (County Down).

21st to 28th

It turned wet everywhere from midday on the 21st, drying up for a time early evening before more rain came later in the night. The 22nd started mild and overcast and turned wet and windy for all parts later with the approach of Storm Doris. Doris brought strong winds to southern districts on the 23rd with gusts to 75 mph recorded in places and rain heaviest across northern parts. It was more settled on the 24th after an early frost but some patchy rain spread from the west later.  The 25th saw a return to unsettled conditions with strong winds along the Antrim coast and widespread patchy rain throughout.  Wet and windy on the 26th, brightening up in the afternoon but with frequent blustery showers.  It was quite cold, breezy but sunny on the 27th with some afternoon wintry showers mainly in the south.  After a wet morning on the 28th, the rain cleared to wintry showers, then it dried up for a time, but with more showers in the evening.

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