Forecasters at Pitsford Weather Station have released their findings for December. They show that the month began cold and sunny, but then it rained - a lot. However it was also the sunniest December since 2009.
Averaged across England and Wales, there was 168mm of rain, which is 173 per cent of the mean. At Pitsford, rainfall exceeded the local average by a greater margin with 101.3mm. It was the wettest December in the UK since 1978, although in Northampton December 1993 was wetter with 108.9mm. From the 19th to the end of the month there were periods of heavy and prolonged rain, causing repeated flooding. Several days at Pitsford saw in excess of 10mm. The wettest location in the UK was Capel Curig, Conwy, which received 444mm of rain through the month. Kinloss in Morayshire was driest with 52mm.
Across the UK the mean maximum temperature in December ranged from 10.6C at St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, to 3.2C at Loch Glascarnoch, Wester Ross. At Pitsford the value was 7.4C. The very cold first few days were balanced by later mild and wet conditions. Both daytime and night-time temperatures were within one degree of the long term average. The highest temperature was 14.1C at Exeter, Devon, on December 22. On the same day the temperature at Pitsford reached 13.1C. For the fourth month in a row Braemar, Aberdeenshire, recorded the lowest temperature, with -12.9C on 6th December. The lowest at Pitsford was -5.8C on the December 12.
England and Wales had an average of 61 hours of sunshine, which, surprisingly given the rainfall, is 116 per cent of the mean. That made it the sunniest December since 2009. Scotland had 39 hours, or 108 per cent of its average, while Northern Ireland was much sunnier than average with 61 hours, or 149 per cent of the average. Wokingham, Berkshire, was the sunniest location with 80 hours, while Aviemore, Inverness-shire, had the smallest total with only 20 hours. However, at Pitsford sunshine hours were down on the average. A total of 36.2 hours represented only 87.4 per cent of the total. However, this measurement may be altered by the fact the monitors at Pitsford Weather Station are affected by tree cover at this time of year. An electronic sensor at the nearby site at Brixworth, which can record sunshine continually from dawn until dusk, recorded 63.9 hours of sunshine.
Other statistics show it rained for 86.1 hours during the month and there were 12 days when the sun didn’t come out. On a positive note, we didn’t experience any gale force winds or thunder.