UK Lookback - November 01, 2014
October Lookback
Warm but unsettled

By Philip Eden

The pressure for October 2014 was below normal in all parts of the British Isles, with pressure anomaly ranging from minus 6mbar in western Ireland and the Western Isles to minus 2mbar in Kent and Sussex. The anomalous flow over the British Isles was southerly over Scotland but south-westerly over England and Wales. All parts of the country were warm and most of the country was wet or very wet with rainfall percentages ranging from 94 in southwest England and south Wales to 145 in western Scotland. Sunshine duration over the country was within 20 per cent of the average in all regions.

Mean maximum temperature during October ranged from 17.7°C at Swanscombe (Kent) to 11.4°C at Lerwick (Shetland), while mean minimum temperature varied between 13.3°C at St Catherine's Point (Isle of Wight) and 5.1°C at Kinbrace (Sutherland). Mean temperatures were between 0.5 and 2.5 degC above normal in all regions. The Central England Temperature (CET) of 12.3°C was 1.6 degC above the mean for 1981-2010; this was the warmest October only since 2013, but in the last 100 years only ten Octobers were warmer while 90 were colder; six of the ten warmest Octobers occurred in the last 20 years.

The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop and mountain sites) in the UK was 23.6°C at Kew Gardens (London) and Swanscombe (Kent) on the 31st, while the lowest minimum was minus 4.5°C at Aviemore (Inverness-shire) on the 15th. The lowest daytime maximum was 6.0°C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire) on the 21st, while the warmest night was that of the 17th/18th with a very high minimum for October of 16.9°C at both Swanage (Dorset) and St Catherine's Point (Isle of Wight).

Rainfall averaged over England and Wales during October in a record stretching back to 1766 was 118.6mm which is 115 per cent of the average for the standard reference period 1981-2010; this was the highest October rainfall since only since 2013; in the last 100 years 28 Octobers were wetter (including seven since 2000), while 72 Octobers were drier. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 174mm and 135 per cent of the normal amount, and for Northern Ireland 109mm and 100 per cent. Monthly totals at routinely-available sites ranged from a very large total of 570mm at Achnagart (Wester Ross) to 41mm at Durham (Co Durham). The heaviest daily fall was 96.0mm on the 27th at Achnagart (Wester Ross). As much as 392mm of rain fell at Achnagart (Wester Ross) over the eleven days from the 17th to the 27th inclusive.

Sunshine averaged over England and Wales during October was 99.7 hours which is 89 per cent of the 1981-2010 mean, making this the sunniest October only since 2012, and in the last 100 years 64 Octobers were sunnier and 36 were duller. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 83 hours and 91 per cent, and for Northern Ireland 109 hours and 120 per cent. Largest total in the UK was 157 hours at St Helier (Jersey), and the smallest was 46 hours at Eskdalemuir (Dumfriesshire).

Strongest winds during October occurred on the 6th with gusts to 84mph at South Uist (Western Isles).

By Philip Eden

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