October 2023 in Durham – Very Wet, Especially Later

Mild at first, then cool and very wet (Storm Babet) The very first day of October 2023 delivered a 20 degC marker, which was the highest of the month. It remained very mild until 10th when it became much cooler. The first 10 days averaged  14.7 degC, with a mean max of 17.7 degC. It felt quite balmy. It was still quite dry though, and there had only been 16.6mm of rain up to the 18th. Then the heavens opened. On 19th-20th October, Storm Babet produced 69.2 mm of rain in Durham. The three day period 19th-21st October 2023 yielded 72.7mm. Many places were even wetter, with a Met Office red alert issued in Eastern Scotland (Angus). 150-200mm fell there. Winds around Storm Babet were also very high and the domed top of South Shields lighthouse has been ripped off into the sea during the storm. Storm Babet: South Shields Lighthouse dome search continues Met Office – Storm Babet The wet weather then continued to the end of the month, with notable falls of 10.4mm on the 26th and another 27.1mm on the 29th. The final total for October 2023 was 132.0 mm from 21 rainy days. 115.4 mm fell …

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Wettest days in Durham

After the heavy rain of 14th August 2023, I set about looking back on days with similar totals in Durham since I started recording here.   The total for 14th August was exactly 30.0 mm, which seems a suitable total to use as a threshold. Here’s what I found: 14th August 2023   30.0mm 17th November 2022   55.7mm 5th October 2021   43.8mm 3rd October 2020   32.7mm 8th June 2019   31.8mm 22nd November 2017   49.3mm The table shows that 30mm in a day in Durham is roughly a once-a-year event. It is also much more prevalent in the 2nd half of the year, all of the occurrences having been later than June. Noteable ‘close, but no cigar’ days have been 23rd July 2023   29.3mm 23rd September 2020   28.5mm 28th August 2020   29.8mm 12th June 2020   29.2mm 27th July 2019   28.2mm 20th September 2018   28.2mm Latest Flooding and Rainfall Posts

October 5th 2021 – What a Deluge!

As some of you may have noticed, yesterday (October 5th 2021) was extremely wet! After a long spell with no real heavy rain, it seemingly all arrived on one day. We’d been warned to expect heavy rainfall, but it proved even wetter than that. Durham and North East England just seemed to be in the wrong place this time! Here’s the record from my log in Gilesgate. It shows the final total of rainfall for 5th October 2021. The final accumulated 43.8mm is quite an impressive total. The 40mm mark of rainfall in a single day isn’t breached too often in Durham, and looking back into my records for Gilesgate, it was the wettest day at my weather station since 22nd November 2017, when an extraordinary storm dropped 49.3mm on Durham in just a few hours. Other areas of North East England also had very high totals on 5th October 2021, including a fall of  64mm in Leadgate, nr. Consett. There were also reports of flooding in both Sunderland and Newcastle. Latest Flooding Posts

January 2021 Weather in Durham – Wet and Cold

Durham Cathedral in the snow, January 2021

January 2021 – A cold, wet month at Durham, With Storm Christoph a notable feature Temperature After the warmth of January 2020, this month proved to be the exact opposite. The month proved to be both wet and wintry, with an exceptional snowfall in the North East area on or around the 6th-8th of the month. Some photos can be seen here. The month averaged only 2.3 degC, which is the coldest January in Durham since 2010. Not unusually for a cold month, it had 13 air frosts recorded, with the lowest temperature of -4.2 degC on the 9th January. There were six days where the daily mean was below zero centigrade. We didn’t quite manage an ice day, the closest being the 15th when the maximum reached a modest 0.7 degC. Readers should ignore the anomalous high reading on 2nd January as this was caused by me changing the batteries in the outdoor sensor! Rainfall The monthly rainfall total of 136.6mm was notably high for a January. There were 5 days with more than 10mm of rain. The 19th and the 28th exceeded 20mm. The 19th-20th yielded 35.6mm. This came from Storm Christoph. The official Durham Met Office station …

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How Heavy is ‘Heavy’? Rain, sleet and snow

Raining Cats and Dogs

Alright my weather mateys. Who’s sick of wet weather? If you didn’t put your hand up there you must be some kind of weirdo. It seems like it’s been raining for years non-stop now. The dry soils of last spring are now a distant memory. We often hear it said that it’s ‘raining cats and dogs’ and even ‘stair rods’, but is there an official way of telling just how ‘heavy’ heavy rain really is? Well, those that spend their day defining all things meteorological do indeed have the official definitions all scribbled on the back of an envelope and here they are (these are for the UK): Drizzle Slight : Dampens ground surfaces with little run-off. Moderate : Causes windows and road surfaces to stream with moisture. Heavy : Impairs visibility and accumulates as measurable rain in the rain gauge. Rain Slight : Scattered large or more numerous smaller drops; rainfall rate not more than 0.5mm/hr Moderate : Rainfall rate of between 0.5 and 4mm per hour, fast enough for puddles to form rapidly Heavy : Rainfall rate of more than 4mm per hour; a downpour that makes a pouring noise on roofs and can form a spray of …

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October 2020 Weather in Durham – Starts very wet with Storm Alex, then continues moist.

Rainfall October 2020 opened very wet. A total of 32.7mm of rain was recorded at Gilesgate, Durham on 3rd resulted in a rapid rise in the River Wear, overtopping the banks in places, and reaching 2.76m at 8:15am on the 4th. The river level fell back rapidly and had dropped a metre by mid afternoon. It was the wettest day of 2020 so far and proved to be the wettest day of the month. The wet theme continued after the deluge on the 3rd (declared the wettest day on record country-wide by the Met Office). There were very wet days recorded on the 8th and 12th-13th (combined total 27.1mm). The second half of the month was slightly less wet than the first, but there were still only two days without rain in the entire month (one in each half). There are some errors in the daily rainfall totals shown in the tables below here. This was due to me changing faulty drained batteries in the sensors. The overall correct total of rain for the month was 113.4mm The individual daily totals in error were 1st (corrected total 1.7mm), 9th (corrected to 0.6mm), 10th (corrected total 7.7mm) and 12th (correct total …

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August 2020 Weather in Durham : Good start, poor end

Durham Weather : August 2020 The weather in Durham in August 2020 was disappointing overall after starting out really well. It was typical of the summer really. There were no long settled spells as such at Durham, although some very warm weather was experienced in the south of the country, culminating with 36.4C recorded at Heathrow and Kew Gardens. The 11th August (mean 24.0 degC) and 12th August (mean 25.1 degC) were the warmest recorded for those particular dates on the Central England Temperature series. Thunderstorms were extensive across the country after that, but we escaped most of them in Gilesgate, although there were some near misses, with torrential rain. It was actually pretty dry up to the 17th (12.2mm, 8 days with rain). The temperature reached 28.0 degC on the 7th, which averaged 21.3 degC. This was the high for the month. Then from 17th it turned really wet and temps declined markedly, with 22.8mm on 17th and rain every day from the 13th to 30th. The last week of the month was very wet, with 12.5mm on 23rd, 12.8mm on 25th, 13.8mm on 27th and 29.8mm on the 28th August. There was a cloudburst in Durham on Sunday 23rd …

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An August Deluge – Nearly 1/2” of rain in 10 minutes in Durham!

View of durham cathedral and castle in heavy rain

23rd August 2020. Very heavy rain in Durham This is the scene from the Bandstand by the River Wear in Durham on Sunday 23rd August 2020. The heavy deluge dropped 9mm of rain in 10 minutes on Durham and it’s surroundings. That’s a rate of 54mm per hour, which is a proper dowpour. In the town, the narrow streets were rapidly turned into rivers and driving visibility was virtually nil. Thanks to Kev Allison for the photo via Facebook.

February 2020 Weather in Durham – Wet and Wild

There was a very wild start to February, although it was relatively mild. Storm Ciara over the weekend of 8th/9th brought damaging gusts and flooding. The worst of it passed to the South of us, but there was major flooding in Yorkshire and winds gusted to 93mph in Wales. The River Wear in Durham rose dramatically during the morning of Sunday 9th to peak at 3.05m late on the evening, flooding riverside paths. Wintry showers on 10th-12th. Snowfall for the Midlands, Scotland and Pennines 15-20cm on high ground. Severe drifting on high ground. The next storm (Storm Dennis) arrived on 15th/16th and was similar to Ciara. The river in Durham peaked at around the 3m mark again and the wind was very strong from the West. It stayed above 3m for many hours this time, with riverside flooding again causing problems. Nationally, once again, the south of the country was hit hard, particularly South Wales. Some snow arrived in Durham late in the month on the 24th, but it lasted less than a day. From waking to a 2” covering on the morning, it had all gone by mid-afternoon. That was it for snow really. The third and last big storm …

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Storm Ciara causes flooding in Durham

Flooding on riverside paths as Storm Ciara causes flooding in Durham

Storm Ciara batters the UK After spending a fair bit of time concentrating on the wind speeds, we sort of forgot about the rain that Storm Ciara was going to deliver. Thankfully we missed some of the squall lines that hit further south. My total for rainfall was only 22.9mm, but obviously far more fell on the catchment areas on the Pennines. A walk to the riverside was needed and as I was coming down from Gilesgate I decided the best way was the pathway that goes directly to the river down past Hild and Bede College. When I got there, the water was already over the riverside path in both directions. To my amazement, there were still people trying to jog along the riverside paths! They were using the little levee between the path and the raging river, with all it’s little hidden dips and gaps that are there to catch the unwary. This guy sensibly swapped onto the path and just got his feet wet. Two kids then came along on their pushbikes. They at least stopped where I was and asked me if I thought it was safe to go on. I explained that it got deeper …

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