2013: An Average Weather Year?

2013 saw a cold spring
March 2013 at Temple Newsam, Leeds Photo: Photo: PAUL GOODYEAR

Provisional statistics for 2013 suggest it has been a very average year – but those annual figures mask a year which features some significant weather highlights.

Temperature, rainfall and sunshine amounts have all been very close to the 1981-2010 average.

The mean temperature for the UK is currently 8.76C, which is just 0.08C below the annual long-term average, rainfall stands at 1079.8 mm, which is about 94% of the average, and sunshine is at 1425.7 hours, which is 104% of the average. All in all, it seems like a very ‘normal’ year.

However, a closer look at individual months and seasons shows a different picture.

The coldest spring for more than 50 years

This year’s spring was widely the coldest since 1962 but for some parts it was the coldest spring since 1891.

The cold season was mainly due to the very cold March but April and May also saw well below average temperatures. Winds were often from the east or north, with notably low temperatures and some unseasonably late snowfalls extending into April and May.

A fine summer and autumn's St Jude's Day storm

However, after a mixed June, July kickstarted a period of relatively fine weather which led to the warmest, driest and sunniest summer since 2006. The season itself isn’t that remarkable in its own right, but becomes so when put into context of the last few years which have generally seen disappointing weather.

Autumn was fairly average in terms of its numbers, with temperature, rainfall and sunshine close to average.

A mild but stormy December

After a fairly dry November to finish the autumn, we moved in to what has become a very unsettled and stormy December. The first major storm came through on the 5thand 6th, then another followed on the 18th and 19th, with another storm tracking past the UK on the 23rd and 24th.

While there have been strong winds during December, rainfall has seen marked regional differences. For example, parts of southern England have seen around double the amount of rain they would normally expect while some spots along the east coast of the UK have only seen around half of their December average.

Other than the generally unsettled conditions, this December has also been mild – it is currently ranked as the seventh mildest December in our records dating back to 1910.

JON MITCHELL