Lookback - March 01, 2015
A dry month
A moderately sunny month too

By Philip Eden


The pressure for February 2015 was 5mbar below normal in Shetland but 6mbar above in south-west Ireland. The anomalous flow over the British Isles was again north-westerly. All parts of the country had near normal temperatures (slightly below in England , Wales and Northern Ireland, but slightly above in northern and eastern Scotland). There was a notably cold spell from the 1st to the 7th after which it turned appreciably milder from the 22nd to the 26th. Only western Scotland and south-east England were wet but only marginally so, with rainfall percentages ranging from 110 in western Scotland to 53 in the eastern Scotland. Sunshine percentages ranged from 76 in Northern Ireland and northern Scotland to 154 in north-east England.


Mean maximum temperature during February ranged from 3.8°C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire) to 8.9°C at St Mary's (Isles of Scilly), while mean minimum temperature varied between minus 2.6°C at Cromdale (Morayshire) and 5.8°C at St Mary's (Isles of Scilly). The Central England Temperature (CET) of 3.9°C was 0.6degC below the mean for 1981-2010; this was the coldest February since 2010, and in the last 100 years 34 Februarys were colder, four had the same mean temperature, while 62 were milder.


The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop and mountain sites) in the UK was 15.6°C at Fyvie Castle (Aberdeenshire) on the 17th, while the lowest minimum was minus 10.8°C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire) on the 3rd. The lowest daytime maximum was minus 0.8°C also at Dalwhinnie on the 19th, while the warmest night occurred during the early hours of the 11th with a high minimum for February of 11.0°C at Fyvie Castle (Aberdeenshire).


Rainfall averaged over England and Wales during February in a record stretching back to 1766 (including an estimated value for the 28th) was 52mm which is 80 per cent of the average for the standard reference period 1981-2010; this was the lowest February rainfall only since 2013; in the last 100 years 40 Februarys were drier, one had the same mean rainfall, while 59 were wetter. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 57mm and 88 per cent of the normal amount, and for Northern Ireland 55mm and 85 per cent. Monthly totals at routinely-available sites ranged from the total of 246mm at Cluanie Inn (Wester Ross) to 11mm at Chillingham Castle (Northumberland). The heaviest daily fall was 46mm on the 18th at Achnagart (Wester Ross).


Sunshine averaged over England and Wales during February (including an estimated figure for the 28th) was 95 hours which is 123 per cent of the 1981-2010 mean, making this the sunniest February since 2008, and in the last 100 years only 13 Februarys were sunnier while 87 were duller. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 73 hours and 90 per cent, and for Northern Ireland 85 hours and 84 per cent. Largest total in the UK was 119 hours at St Helier (Jersey), and the smallest was 44 hours at Lerwick (Shetland).


Strongest winds during February occurred on the 18th with sustained winds approaching 50mph and gusts to 70mph at Capel Curig (Gwynedd).


By Philip Eden


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