December 2020 – Wet, with a White Christmas

December 2020 started wet and cold. The 4th December very wet, with snow on high ground as a quite deep area of low pressure rushed by. There was more than 30mm of rain on 3rd/4th. This became typical of the month, with regular downpours giving significant amounts. Some areas of the UK had snow with the rain in this period, with ‘Thundersnow’ in Scotland, but it quickly disappeared at low levels as temperatures rose. At higher levels however, conditions were marginal and the freezing level was low enough to retain a snow cover on the very tops of the hills. …

Read more

December 2019 – Finally an end to the sequence of soggy months

After 6 months of way above average rainfall, December has finally stopped the rot. As has been previously mentioned, the wet sequence started in June and ran all the way through to Novemeber. What usually happens when December is dry is that it’s also frosty. This time, it’s been both mild here and on the dry side. There have only been 4 air frosts, spread equally across the month. (1st, 2nd, 18th and 31st). The atmospheric pressure was pretty low and cyclonic from the 6th all the way to the 23rd, but all of the rain seemed to fall in …

Read more

First real snow of winter 2019-20

The northern part of the county saw it’s first real snow of the winter on 12th December. It was confined to high levels, but gave a good covering in the high Pennines. Here’s a photo from twitter from the top of Killhope. More photos from a friend of mine Barry Wilkinson who went skiing in Weardale.

Amazing sunrise from Wharton Park 8th December 2019

Some amazing shots this morning of the sunrise from Wharton Park, with Durham Cathedral silhouetted against the fiery skyline. The day soon turned into a blustery one with showers and gusty westerly winds. Pictures here are courtesy of Kevin Edworthy. Many thanks Kevin for allowing me to use these.

Some great photos of the severe December 2010 weather

Some nine years ago, we were in the grip of one of the most severe spells of weather to occur in the month of December for over 100 years. Around Durham, snowfall was very deep. Here’s a selection of photos taken by Gary Tidbury of the conditions around Framwellgate Moor in Durham.

Freezing Decembers – They really are very rare in the UK

picture of the Frozen River Wear December 2010

When December 2010 came along, it was a complete shock to the system. There had been no below freezing December (average below 0.0 degC) since 1890. That’s 120 years. These are temperatures from the CET series (Central England Temperature). Records in the CET go back as far as 1659. So, let’s look at those sub-zero December years. The first is December 1676 (mean temp -0.5 degC). Back then, the temperatures were only recorded to the nearest half degree and there aren’t any daily temperatures available to me, so I can’t really embellish that too much other than say, imagine a …

Read more

Winter Chills : The Great Winters of 1947 and 1963 in the UK

This is archived content that used to be on the Met Office website, but isn’t anymore so I decided to resurrect it for posterity, adding my own comments and adaptions. It’s a page to refer to when people talk about the harsh winters of 1946-47 and 1962-63, the two UK winters that are used as benchmarks for how bad winter can get. Rarely in the UK – or anywhere, for that matter – is a train completely buried in snow. But that’s exactly what happened on Dartmoor in March 1891 and in northern Scotland in January 1978. The winters that …

Read more

Monthly Report – December 2018

December started quite wet, then mostly dry later. The second half of the month was quieter with a lot of High Pressure influence. Rainfall total was 41mm, which is only 72% of normal for December. In late afternoon/evening of 15th December there was a fall of snow/sleet/freezing rain. A right hogs breakfast with strong south easterly winds. Precipitation total was 8mm overnight. It was all gone by morning as temperatures rose. Temperature was well above normal for Durham, but not as high an anomally as the CET area, which recorded the 15th warmest December. In Durham, the mean was +1.6 …

Read more

Stunning sunset in Durham 30/12/2018

Another stunning sunset in Durham on 30th December. And then another on New Year’s Eve.

December 2015 – Freakishly mild, but wild and wet.

December 2015 was easily the mildest December on record. The mean of 7.8 degC at Durham was 3.9 degC above average. December 19th 2015 featured the highest ever December temperature recorded in Durham. It reached 15.9 degC, a massive 0.8 degC higher than the previous record (15.1 on 22/12/1991). Nationally it was also the warmest ever December (beating the previous record held jointly by 1934 and 1974, by a huge margin of 1.6 degC) and the wettest calendar month on record. At Durham it was also the wettest December since 1978. Amazing that only 5 years separates the cold December …

Read more