Here are some charts and figures from our Vantage Pro2 weather station summarising 2013 weather in Reigate. All data is posted on our data page for you to download freely and use, but please credit RGSweather for any subsequently produced materials. Excel pivot tables have been used to generate some of the more fun charts and statistics below.
Our overall conclusion from 2013 is that Reigate has some of the best weather in the UK, probably! Read on to find out why…
Reigate topped the charts for recording the highest temperature in the UK at times during 2013 summer.
Average temperature 9.9C
Highest Tmax 33.5C on 1 August at 4:22pm. (Heathrow recorded 34.1C)
Lowest Tmin -5.9C on 22 January at 3:37am.
Lowest wind chill -11.9C on 12 March at 5:03am.
The chart below shows daily average temperatures in Reigate throughout 2013 as a full circle. Note the annual average temperature for Reigate (10c) is shown as a red circle.
Despite recent experiences, it doesn’t usually rain that much in Reigate compared to elsewhere in the UK. The extraordinary rainfall of 23-24 Dec recorded a rare 70mm for that period on our manual rain gauge. The graph shows that this rainfall total is unsual for Reigate.
Total 654mm (VP2 rain collector; uncalibrated on site; intended calibration v soon; we suspect some under-reading of totals at this stage)
Average daily rainfall 1.8mm per day
The wettest day of the week, overall, in 2013 was… Friday (but not significantly) with Thursday being a significant driest day.
Highest rainfall intensity 182mm/hr (briefly!) on 22 November at 8.38am.
The strongest gust recorded in 2013 was 48mph, more exposed hills and places locally recorded 60-70mph (e.g. Redhill aerodrome). Reigate is sheltered from Northerly winds by Reigate Hill and from more common gales from the South or SW by high ground at Priory Park and woodlands.
Average highest daily wind speed 8.7mph
Max gust 48mph from WSW on 28 October at 6:15am
Dominant wind direction WSW.
The windiest months were October and December in respect of highest maximum wind gusts measured.
Wind run is a measurement of how much wind has passed a given point over a period of time. A wind blowing at three miles per hour for an entire hour would give a wind run of three miles. Wind run is a measure of the persistence and duration of a particular wind direction. The longest wind runs for Reigate in 2013 were associated with NE winds in March, which were persistent. The fateful Channel Blizzard wind run that met warm SW winds and caused such unusual snowfall in the Channel Islands recorded the longest wind run of 267 miles. It’s interesting to note that our most common westerly and SW winds achieve relatively short wind runs, this is probably because our prevailing winds are associated with LOW pressure systems that cause rapid changes in wind direction as they pass through.
Rain and Wind
Most of the heaviest rainfall totals for Reigate in 2013 arrived on South (S) and West-South-West (WSW) winds. The wind direction bringing highest average rainfall intensity (rainfall rate mm/hr) in 2013 was SSW. There looks to be a strong correlation between rainfall rate and wind speed. The chart shows that the heaviest rain tends to occur at lower wind speeds. The strongest gales it seems often just precede, or arrive soon after, warm or cold fronts, prior to arrival of or just after the heaviest rain has passed. This was certainly the case in the October StJude storm when the, now infamous, stingjet winds followed after the heaviest rain on the cold front had well and truly passed through Reigate.
Wind and Temperature
The wind direction bringing coldest temperatures to Reigate in 2013 were those bitter Easterlies in our cold 2013 Spring. An interesting element of SSW winds also brought in cold minimum temperatures to Reigate, possibly ahead of fronts from the Atlantic when chilly continental air can be dragged in as “polar returning air” from a frigid winter continent. Interestingly, the dominant wind bearing bringing the lowest wind CHILL temperatures was NNE, different from the winds bringing lowest average air temperature. More on wind chill here
Reigate Sunshine (*sunshine recorder added April 27)
Sunshine total hours *1058 hours (from April 27)
Longest daily sunshine hours 11.4 hours June 6
Shortest daily sunshine within recording period 0 hours on 21 December (shortest day)
In conclusion: Reigate, Surrey has the best weather in the UK, probably! It is one of the driest, least windy, least stormy (we get few thunderstorms compared with many places) and sunniest and warmest places in the country. Reigate was one of the warmest or nearly-warmest places in the UK a number of times in 2013.
Some factors making Reigate weather some of the best in the country are to do with the uniquely well-placed location of the town. So, thanks to the Normans we are:
- south facing: nestled at the foot of the North Downs: sheltered from cold Northerly and NE wind and rain
- sheltered from S and SW gales by Priory hill and woods.
- low altitude: 100m above sea level: not exposed.
- inland from exposed coasts which experience higher winds and, sometimes, more rain
- on the lowland East of the UK: enjoying a regionally sheltered location from cold easterly winds (Kent gets these) and westerly gales and heavy rainfall.
- in a location that usually avoids extreme convective thundery activity (2013): Reigate missed several thunderstorm events that passed to the north of London from a SW direction; this may or may not be usual.
We plan to post full meta-data describing the location of our Vantage Pro and the data required to get the most our of our records in 2014. Other plans for 2014 include:
- Calibrate the tipping bucket VP2 rain gauge before Easter.
- Further outreach to other schools and interested parties regarding all-things weather, via this blog and @RGSweather.
- Expand the school club and further engage students in the wonders of weather.
- Expand the use of data in school to include more departments.
- Provide a local service to help forecast and understand extreme weather, when we can, via Twitter.
- Engage with the Press and media where we can provide useful information
- Encourage readers to post comments and together contribute to the wider understanding of weather locally.
A sincere thank you to all readers for making this such a success in 2013 and please come back for more in 2014!