Weather In February 2020

It has been a very wet month with record-breaking rainfall, with predominantly low-pressure systems across the country they have come one after the other, they always seem to hit at the weekends. Storm Ciara came on the 9th and Storm Dennis on the 15th bringing exceptional rainfall totals. It has also been very mild with a Central England Temperature (CET) of  6.3c, which was 2.5c above the long term average.

UK Stats

Its been the wettest February on record in England & Wales, Northern Ireland has had their wettest month ever. And there have been so many flood warnings during the month all over the country.

On the 16th a maximum temperature of 16.0 °C was recorded at East Malling (Kent).  A minimum temperature of -10.2 °C was recorded at Braemar (Aberdeenshire) on the 13th.  In the 24 hours ending at 0900 GMT on the 20th, 180.4 mm of rain fell at Honister Pass (Cumbria).  A wind gust of 97 mph was recorded at Needles (Isle of Wight) on the 9th.  A snow depth of 23 cm was recorded at Copley (Durham) on the 24th.

Winter in Cassiobury Park
Water levels very high

Watford Stats

Its been a very wet month which has caused lots of flooding near the rivers in Watford. I have recorded my highest rainfall total since September 2016 and the highest February rainfall since I started recording in 1982! It has also been a mild month, though this is mainly down to the warm nights, as we only had 3 frosts all month.

The total rainfall this month was 98.4mm with the wettest day on the 28th with 16.8mm, there were only 7 days when no rain fell last month. In terms of temperature, the highest was on the 23rd with 13.9c, not that high, seeing that we had over 20c last February. But it was the consistent temperatures over 10c and the warm nights that kept the average high. The lowest temperature was -2c on the 5th and the coldest day was only 7.9c which is remarkable for February. You usually get quite a few days of below 5c.

Sunset in Watford
Sunset in Watford

The wind has been strong all month with the highest recorded gust of 22.8mph on the 15th. There have also been 5 days when snow fell but only one day there was a covering (dusting). We nearly went a whole winter without any snow falling, but the last week saw 5 days where it did fall. This was because we moved to the cold side of the jet stream for the first time this winter.

Winter in Cassiobury Park
Winter trees

Winter 2019 to 2020

The winter is going to be remembered for the rain and lots of it, some places had over 170% of their normal rainfall but it will also be a notably mild winter. There was a distinct lack of snow in some areas, where not even a single flake fell. Here are some charts for the winter from the Met Office which shows the areas which had the most rainfall. You can see that some places in the middle of the country had more than 400% of their monthly rainfall.

UK rainfall over the winter
UK temperature anomaly for the winter

Over the globe it has been one of the hottest winters since records began on earth, you can see from this chart where the warm anomaly is around the world. Its only Alaska, parts of Canada, Greenland & Iceland that have seen a winter colder than the long term average. It is remarkable warm over Europe and Russia plus parts of Africa & China.

February temperature anomaly across the earth

Records Broken

  • Wettest February on record in England & Wales
  • Wettest month ever in Northern Ireland
  • Antarctica had its first 20c in February, 1c above the previous record set in 1982
  • Europe had its hottest winter on record, 1.4c above the previous high in 2015

Looking ahead to March

We look to be on the cool side of the jet stream at the beginning of the month but with less rain than February, we may even get some surprise falls of snow. The jet stream will most likely be less strong than February, this will mean less powerful low-pressure systems.

Winter in Cassiobury Park
Flooded park as we had a very wet February in Watford.

Summary for February 2020 in Watford

Temperature (°C):
Mean (1 minute) 6.9
Mean (min+max) 7.0
Mean Minimum 3.3
Mean Maximum 10.6
Minimum -2.0 day 05
Maximum 13.9 day 23
Highest Minimum 9.2 day 15
Lowest Maximum 7.9 day 11
Air frosts 3

Rainfall (mm):
Total for month 98.4
Wettest day 16.8 day 28
High rain rate 28.8 day 15
Rain days 21
Dry days 7

Wind (mph):
Highest Gust 22.8 day 15
Average Speed 1.8
Wind Run 1209.4 miles
Gale days 0

Pressure (mb):
Maximum 1031.3 day 05
Minimum 974.1 day 28

Days with snow falling 5
Days with snow lying at 0900 1 (dusting)

Winter in Cassiobury Park
Fallen trees in the storms
Whippendell Woods in the winter
Whippendell Woods in the winter

Links

Met Office – https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/cet_info_mean.html
Met Office Summary – https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries
Real-time Watford Weather – https://weather.andrewlalchan.co.uk/
Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/alalchan/albums/72157712704080908
Weather Outlook – https://www.theweatheroutlook.com/twocommunity/
January – https://blog.andrewlalchan.co.uk/weather-in-january-2020/

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