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Winter 2016/17

The following represents an assessment of the weather experienced across the UK during Winter 2016/17 (December to February) and how it compares with the 1981 to 2010 average.

This was a rather dry and mild winter.  Any unsettled and stormy spells of weather were relatively brief until the second half of February, in contrast to some recent winters. After this the weather was mild and quite disturbed, including two of the winter’s five ‘named storms’ – Storm Doris, around 23rd February, gave the most widespread impacts over England, with wind gusts of up to 94 mph.  December and February were both mild months, but January was a little colder than average towards the south-east (December 2016 was the eighth mildest December for the UK as a whole in a series since 1910, although well below the exceptional mildness of December 2015, and February 2017 ranked ninth). December was very dry over southern England, whereas January was particularly dry in northern and western areas. Rainfall in February was largely near or just above average.

December 2016 was milder than average in all areas, by as much as 3 °C over parts of Scotland, and the UK monthly mean temperature was +2.0 °C above the long-term average. January 2017 was milder than average over northern areas, but at times high pressure brought cold continental air into central and south-eastern parts of England where the month as a whole was a little colder than average.  For the UK overall, January’s mean temperature anomaly was +0.2 °C.  February was mild in all areas, particularly during the second half when temperatures reached 18 °C in the London area on the 20th, and the mean anomaly for the month was +1.6 °C.

December was drier than average over England and Wales, with only a quarter of the average rainfall in the south, but amounts were near or just above normal in central and northern Scotland. In January Scotland and Northern Ireland were particularly dry, with rainfall near or just above average over the Midlands and most of southern England.  February rainfall was closer to average generally, and in fact rather wetter for much of southern Scotland and northern England. The UK overall saw 65% of average rainfall in December, 63% in January, and 106% in February.

December was a rather dull month over Scotland but sunnier than average in central and eastern England. January was sunnier than average in most areas, substantially so in parts of Scotland and southern England. February was rather dull in many areas, especially Wales, but brighter in northern Scotland and the far south-west of England. Sunshine totals for the UK overall were exactly 100% of average in December, 117% of average in January, and 79% in February.

UK statistical summary

Mean Temperature Rainfall Sunshine
The mean value is 5.0 °C, which is 1.3 °C above the 1981-2010 average. The total is 248 mm, which is 75% of the 1981-2010 average. The total is 151 hours, which is 96% of the 1981-2010 average.


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