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The Moments Of The Year In Weather - 2012

A Winter's Tale


[u][b][u][u]GREAT STORM OF JANUARY 2012:[/u][/u][/b][/u]

Woke up at 6am to the sound of an almighty gust of wind that made the most incredible bangs. The roar, drone and rumble of the wind was endless and loud and I could hear it smashing some area of the town, just hoping that the particular gust won't reach here. The gusts were constent and mental. I could hear and feel the door about to explode open, I could hear all the bins falling over and damage to roofs and I just thought that the world was ending! The upstairs window blew open and we had to put a wardrobe, books and mattress infront of it - it blew open a further two times. Looking out of the window, I could hear and see the Christmas Period wine bottles rolling down the street and accumilating at the cul-de-sac. The updates on the Scotland Thread were mental! Once it had passed, I had realised that for the first time in my life, the house had received some damage with some slates knocked off (This happened to quite a few of the members too). On the drive to Bearsden, I saw many fences down, a large brick wall, two entire signposts bent over and countless numbers of trees down. In Bearsden, there were so many large trees down and I went for a walk. I was confused on the origins of one particular blown down tree that had found itself on someones house. I learnt that it was the top half of a tree across the road - an excutued tree! Looking at the slates was staggering with very large slates on the grass everywhere. Some of the pieces had pierced well through the ground - just imagine what that would have done to the Skull in impact! I went for another drive and saw incredible scenes at every corner - truly amazing!
That was one great storm. My gran in Bearsden was a little upset with one tree being blown down. A tree in the Roman Baths can be seen right outside her bedroom window and she looks at it during the day, and it's the last thing she sees at night and the first in the morning. Yesterday's storm blew it down and the view looks a little different so I'm a little sorry to see it gone. I went for a walk and had a look at the damage too! Also, the night before the storm, she and my uncle had a look at some photos and admired the difference of the tree - just a few hours before it became an ex-tree.

[b] Winter storms, early January 2012[/b]


A major winter storm brought very strong winds across much of the UK on 3 January 2012. The worst affected area was southern Scotland – particularly the Central Belt – where winds gusted at well over 70 knots (81 mph). In this area, this storm was judged as the most severe for 13 years – since 26 December 1998, with wind speeds exceeding those of the recent storm of [url="http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/interesting/2011_decwind/"]8 December 2011[/url]. Very strong winds were also experienced across much of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, with winds here also widely gusting at 50 to 60 knots (58 to 69 mph).
This storm was followed by a further extremely windy spell from 4 to 5 January 2012 – with further damaging winds across northern and eastern England. These storms followed a particularly turbulent spell of weather from late November to mid-December.
[b] Impacts[/b]

On 3rd, fallen trees blocked roads and rail lines and damaged power lines. Rail services from Edinburgh to Glasgow and Inverness to Aberdeen were suspended. The Forth, Tay and Kingston road bridges were closed, with restrictions elsewhere. Ferry services were delayed and flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports were cancelled. More than 100,000 Scottish homes and businesses were left without electricity and some buildings were damaged.
It was a similar picture across Northern Ireland, with travel delays, power cuts and building damage. In England and Wales, impacts included fallen trees, overturned lorries and building damage. A man was killed in Kent by a falling tree, and a bus driver seriously injured. A crewmember was killed as a vessel in the English Channel was struck by a large wave. The QE11 bridge on the M25 was closed for several hours as was the port of Dover.

On 3 January, the strongest winds were across Scotland’s central belt, gusting at well over 70 knots (81 mph) and up to 89 knots (102 mph) at Edinburgh, Blackford Hill – strong enough to cause some structural damage. Several stations in this area recorded their highest gust speeds for 13 years – making this the most significant storm experienced in southern Scotland since the Boxing Day storm of 26 December 1998 (Table 1). Maximum gust speeds in this area were higher than those of either [url="http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/interesting/2011_decwind/"]8 December 2011[/url] or [url="http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/interesting/jan2005wind/"]11-12 January 2005[/url].
Winds gusted at between 50 to 60 knots (58 to 69 mph) across most of Northern Ireland and Wales, and much of England, apart from the Midlands. Exposed coastal and upland locations saw gusts of over 70 knots (81 mph). Central parts of England experienced gusts more typically of 45 to 50 knots (51 to 58 mph). Across the mountain summits of northern Britain, winds gusted at up to 94 knots (108 mph) on Cairngorm summit (1237 m.a.s.l.) and 92 knots (106 mph) at Great Dun Fell, Cumbria (847 m.a.s.l.) – see Figure 1.
The highest mean hourly wind speeds on 3 January exceeded 40 knots (46 mph) across much of southern Scotland, and around the coasts of Northern Ireland, Wales, and southern England (Figure 2).

[b][u]NOTABLE COLD SPELL - FEBRUARY 2012[/u][/b][/center]

From late January to Mid February, many parts of the UK were under a cold spell, however the majority of the south and east were in a severe cold spell with very cold temperatures and some snowfall events. It was believed to have been the coldest weather in England in February since February 1986.

Largest Snow Depth: 15cm, Church Fenton
Lowest Minimum: -18.3C, Chesham, 11th February
Lowest Maximum: -5.4C, Coningsby, 11th February
No. of Days with Temperatures Below -10C: 5
No. of Days with Temperatures Below 0C: 13

[center][b][u]RECORD BREAKING WARMTH - MARCH 2012[/u][/b][/center]

Between the 22nd and 29th March 2012, the UK was under a very warm spell with most areas seeing temperatures above 15C thanks to a SEly breeze from High Pressure. Initially, England was sunniest and warmest with the first 20C of the year then it got sunnier and warmer everywhere. It wasn't until the 25th that records began to fall as Scotland saw their first 20C of the year and most areas of the country saw warm sunshine and 20C temperatures. However on that day, Fyvie Castle broke the previous record Hot March temperature of 22.2C with 22.5C. Then the following day, it was even hotter with 20C across much of Scotland and Aboyne breaking the record with a high of 22.9C. Then, when further detail came in the Met Office realised the Cromdale earned the new record with 23.2C. Then the following day, records went again as a high of 23.8C was recorded in Aboyne as Scotland enjoyed a third day of 20C temperatures and brilliant sunshine. The following days would also be warm and sunny but not as extreme as the previous days.

[center][b][u]LATE SEASON SPRING SNOWFALL - APRIL 2012[/u][/b][/center]

During the 2nd and 3rd April 2012, there was a major snowfall event in Scotland and possibly for some the main snow event of the entire winter season. Cold air followed a very warm period and front moving south from the north brought snow to much of the country. It snowed here in Glasgow in April for the first time since 2008. However, further north and east there was widespread deep accumilations that would be good for notable snow events in mid winter and there was travel distruption. Up to 25cm had fallen in places but a lot of places had lying snow - this is the latest lying snow event in the UK in at least 4 years. Snow in April is always possible but it doesn't happen everywhere, certainly widespread April snowfall isn't common and lying snow at a widespread is even rarer which makes this event very significant for how potent it was at this stage in the season. Temperatures were also very cold and around freezing in places. Overall conditions are what you'd expect during one of the highlights of a winter. April snow has always been a part of UK Climate but this is a more significant event and a type that hasn't happened in a while.

[center][u][b]HEAVY RAIN, FLOODING AND COLD TEMPERATURES - APRIL 2012[/b][/u][/center]

April 2012 was generally a decent month here in Glasgow with a few frosts, one snowfall which a notable event in April, satisfactory amounts of sunshine and decent enough variety of seasonal weather. Plenty of hail was also notable and March was had a warmer maximum temperature than the whole of April. The UK mean for March was 7.7C (3rd warmest) whereas April was colder at 6.3C (one of the coldest and coldest in my life) and in Scotland the mean for March was 7.0C (the warmest) whreas April was colder at 4.9C (one of the coldest in my life and not far off normal winter months). This is truly remarkable and satisfactory weather made it fairly decent but it was a different story further south. Very limited warmth, sunshine and lots of rain. It was the wettest April on record after parts of England were declared drought zones. The north enjoyed chilly but pleasant conditions but for much of the month and particulary the latter part, things got very dull and wet. Towards the end, a monster low pressure system moved from east to west and it brough 6C temps, very heavy rain, wind, sleet and lots of widespread flooding that caused problems. The weather of April 2012 was influenced by high pressure in the North Atlantic and Greenland, low pressure over the UK bring cool Nlys, NElys and Elys. April was very much a different month from April, thankfully up here it wasn't as bad and it certainly will be an interesting month to look back on!

[center][b][u]SNOW AND COLD WEATHER - MAY 2012[/u][/b][/center]

After a cold and wet April, the theme continued into May. Again, up north things were better as on the for 3 consecutive days 20C had been recorded in Scotland and typical May weather was abundant. However, on the 4th things changed to a cold n thatortherly and a brought another aspect of May weather that you wouldn't get every year but certainly is a characteristic of May weather in the UK just as the sunshine and warmth you associate the month with. -5C uppers reached the UK with -10C uppers in Shetland which resulted a cool weather but in the sunshine fairly pleasant. In Glasgow, the 4th was pleasant and it only felt wintry at night with a cool, but clear sky with cooler temperatures. Elsewhere, Shetland and NE Scotland saw low level snow with showers - the first May snow event since 2010 which again is a Late May Characteristic but not one to expect every year. Under the clear skies, a widespread frost developed. The morning of the 5th was cold with -3C and a frost which is very decent for May. Even more significant was a snow shower at 11am which may second ever May snowfall. Winter 2011/12 ended a lot later than 10/11 and parts of Spring 2012 was snowier and colder than parts of the winter. Temperatures during the period dropped as low as -6C in places and didn't rise above 4C in some places. So for the majority, it was the last frost of the season and more significantly the last snowfall so late in the season - one to remember!

[center][b][u]WARM SPELL - MAY 2012[/u][/b][/center]

Late in May 2012, a sudden, potent warm spell occured after a period of very wet and cold weather. I had experienced quite a few frosts, my coldest ever May min at -4C, lots of rain but come the 23rd, temperatures began to increase into the 20s. In the following days, in Glasgow we had 6 consecutive days at temperatures above 20C, 4 days at 25C+ and an overall max of 27C. This is the warmest spell here in Glasgow since July 2006, and the wamest May temperature in my lifetime. I made use of this fantastic weather. Records were broken across much of Scotland as temperatures were recorded widely at around 25C for 4 or so days, the NW and other areas enjoyed 25C+ temperatures and records too. There were a few thunderstorms but overall it was very sunny. High pressure over the UK and Scandinavia brought settled weather across the UK and an easterly helped western areas to get the best out of the warm weather. Overall, this is probably the longest, warmest and sunniest spell for quite a few areas in the UK since 2006. The warmest temperature UK wide was around 29C, which is 3C short of the UK record for May.


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