1. ITV Report

20 things you didn't know about the remarkable winter of 2013/14 in the Anglia region

River levels were still very high with flooded fields at Sutton Gault in Cambridgeshire on 21 February. Photo: Wendy Neale

It was a very wet winter in the East Anglia in 2013/14 but not the wettest ever and there were other remarkable aspects of the season.

Winter is defined by meteorologists all over the Northern Hemisphere as the calendar months of December, January and February with March being the first spring month.

Winter 2013/14 in the Anglia region was not only one of the wettest every recorded in this area, it was also one of the sunniest and one of mildest ever. There were also plenty of storms and strong, damaging winds.

Some of the statistics in this report are provisional and may be updated as more weather data is collated over the next few weeks.

  1. Around some parts of the East Anglian coast, the storm surge that hit on 5/6 December 2013 was higher than the devastating surge of 1953.
Flooding in the town centre of Lowestoft, Suffolk at the height of the storm surge on 5/6 December 2013 Credit: Paul Nicholos
Waves crashing onto the sea wall at Hunstanton, Norfolk on 5 December 2013. Credit: Jo Tidman
The heavy seas smashed holes in the sea wall at Cromer during the storm surge. Credit: Peter Cheney
  1. Despite the wet weather, this has been one of the sunniest winters ever recorded in East Anglia. The region averaged 2 hours 40 minutes of sunshine per day - nearly half an hour more than normal.
  1. This winter was also one of the warmest ever in the Anglia region with the average temperature about 2°C higher than normal. This is likely to be the third mildest winter ever since Met Office records for East Anglia began in 1910 - beaten only by winter 2006/07 and 1989/90.
  1. The highest temperature recorded in December, January and February in the Anglia region was 14.4°C at Weybourne on the Norfolk coast on 24 February.
The rain comes down again at Hundon, Suffolk in one of the wettest winters on record in East Anglia. Credit: Rosemarie Jessop
  1. It was the wettest January on record across England but in East Anglia there have been four wetter ones than January 2014 - in 1939, 1988, 1995 and 1943. However rainfall records were broken at several individual weather stations in the Anglia region during January 2014:
  • Harpenden, Hertfordshire with 137 mm
  • Woburn, Bedfordshire with 109 mm
  • Moulton Park, Northampton with 101 mm
  • Cambridge with 100 mm
  • Bedford with 94 mm
  • Sawtry, Cambridgeshire with 89 mm
  • Holbeach, Lincolnshire with 84 mm

The regional average rainfall in January 2014 was 99.2 mm with the January record being 118.6 mm set in 1939.

  1. It's thought the display of aurora borealis or Northern Lights on 27 February was the most vivid in East Anglia for two decades. They were photographed in Norfolk and Essex.
The pinks and greens of the Northern Lights at Bannister Green, Felsted in Essex around 21.55pm on 27 February 2014 Credit: Wendy Clarke
  1. The lowest temperature recorded in East Anglia during winter 2013/14 was -5.0°C at Santon Downham, Suffolk on 12 January 2014. In contrast, the lowest temperature during winter 2012/13 was -13°C and -16°C the year before that.
  1. The wettest day on winter 2013/14 in the Anglia region was 6 February with a regional average daily rainfall total of 19 mm. The highest total in the region on that day was 32 mm at Harpenden in Hertfordshire.
Flood fields close to the River Stour at Flatford, Suffolk in the heart of Constable Country. Credit: Michael Kemp
  1. The provisional winter sunshine total for the Anglia region for 2013/14 is around 237 hours - some 43 hours higher than normal or a 22% sunshine bonus. Once all the data has been analysed, this winter could turn out to be the third sunniest on record after winter 1948/49 and winter 1999/2000.
Punts on the River Cam in Cambridge on 24 February 2014 when the temperature in the city reached 13.3°C Credit: John Challis
  1. A number of places in East Anglia failed to record a temperature below freezing during the whole of February 2014. This means there were no air frosts - a quite remarkable feat during a winter month.

These are the sites in East Anglia where temperatures stayed above 0°C during February 2014:

  • Bedford
  • Cambridge
  • Cromer, Norfolk
  • Harpdenden, Hertfordshire
  • Holbeach, Lincolnshire
  • Marham, Norfolk
  • Northampton
  • Sawtry, Cambridgeshire
  • Shoeburyness, Essex
  • Southend, Essex
  • Stowe, Buckinghamshire
  • Wattisham, Suffolk
  • Weybourne, Norfolk
  • Woburn, Bedfordshire
Sunrise at Emberton Park near Olney in Buckinghamshire on 23 January 2014 Credit: Judi Boardman
  1. The wettest week of the entire winter was 31 January to 6 February when the Anglia region saw an average of 35.5 mm of rain. A normal winter week should expect 11.5 mm of rain.
  1. The sunniest week of the entire winter in the Anglia region came as the end of the season, as might be expected with the days becoming longer towards spring. The week ending 27 February saw 33.6 hours of sunshine. An average winter week in East Anglia gets 15 hours of sunshine.
A tree falls onto a house in Letchworth, Hertfordshire narrowly missing a bedroom on 14 February 2014 Credit: ITV News Anglia
  1. The storm on the night of Valentine's Day on 14 February saw winds gusting up to 68 mph at Wittering in Cambridgeshire. Dozens of trees were brought down across the region. Damage to the roof of the Imperial War Museum at Duxford temporarily closed the attraction ahead of the half-term holiday.
  1. Winter 2013/14 was the wettest on the England & Wales Precipitation series which dates back to 1766. The previous record of 423 mm was set in 1914/15. By 24 February 2014 there had been 435 mm of rainfall.
  1. Relatively speaking, East Anglia was one of the driest part of the UK during the winter. The provisional rainfall total here was 231 mm which represents 156% of the normal rain. It was the wettest winter since 1989/90.
Although England had its wettest ever winter, there have been four wetter ones in East Anglia. Credit: Met Office/Crown Copyright
  1. December 2013 in East Anglia was the 12th warmest on records which started in 1910. The mean temperature, which takes into account daytime highs and night time lows, was 6.0°C or 1.4°C higher than normal. It was the warmest December since 2006. The warmest December on record in the region was in 1934 with a mean temperature of 7.8°C.
  1. January 2014 in East Anglia was the eighth warmest on the Met Office record which started in 1910. January 2007 was the warmest on record and was 1.2°C warmer than January 2014.
The River Chelmer in flood at Broomfield, Essex on Boxing Day, 26 December 2013 Credit: Steve Barrett
  1. The wettest place in the Anglia region in January 2014 was Stowe in Buckinghamshire with 159 mm of rain - that's about three months' worth.

These were the top five wettest locations in the region in January 2014:

  • 159 mm in Stowe, Bucks
  • 158 mm in Harpenden, Herts
  • 157 mm in Luton, Beds
  • 147 mm in Somersham, Cambs
  • 144 mm in Southend, Essex
  1. Chedburgh in Suffolk had a very windy February with 19 days recording gusts over 30 mph and four days with gusts over 50 mph.
Hail not snow falling at Melbourn, Cambridgeshire on 3 January 2014 Credit: Callum Curuk
  1. While the odd flake of snow may have been detected at isolated weather stations, averaged across the Anglia region as a whole there were no days of snowfall which is a truly remarkable achievement during winter. For instance, last winter saw 18 snowfall days in the Anglia region, while there were 7 in 2011/12.

It should also be noted that while the meteorological winter is over and spring has started, the risk of snow has not yet gone. Spring 2013 saw 10 snowfall days with 9 days in March and 1 in April.

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