2014 weather in Reigate, like the rest of England and Wales, broke some records for rainfall and temperature but in quite different ways. To compare with 2013 visit here.
The annual summary chart (top) shows that Reigate had an exceptionally wet start to the year with January being the wettest on record (MetOffice) with over 180mm of rain (see chart above). The annual total rainfall for Reigate was 931.8mm which is above average for the area and well above the 2013 annual rainfall total of 654mm. The rainfall record that fell in 2014 was for the highest January monthly precipitation total since accurate UK rainfall records began in 1873, exceeding 180mm in Reigate and the SE. The January rainfall record fell in a winter that will be remembered for being exceptionally stormy in the SE, beginning with St Jude storm in October 2013 and persisting with numerous Atlantic storms battering the west coast and delivering high rainfall totals and significant flooding events across the SE, including our own River Mole and impacting Gatwick airport. This blog covered numerous accounts of flooding and storm damage throughout that exceptionally stormy winter.
In SE England and Reigate January and February 2014 were 260% and 274% wetter than average respectively (MetOffice). Of the remaining months March, April, June, July, September and December were at or below average. September in Reigate was particularly dry with only 18mm of rain, compared to the average annual SE total nearer 80mm. Nevertheless, despite these dry months for SE England 2014 was the 3rd wettest year on record, mainly due to the exceptional rain totals in the first 2 months.
From the rain chart below it is notable that for the second year running Friday is the wettest day of the week in Reigate, Fridays delivering 20% of our rain in 2014. There have been studies showing that this effect of wet ends to the week is due to the build up of aerosol pollution during the commuting week. This encourages the formation of condensation nucleii and higher rainfall totals on friday…it’s a theory worth pursuing because this is the second year running showing this effect in Reigate. The other chart shows that southerly winds (SE-SW) brought most rain to Reigate in 2014. This continues the trend from 2013 where southerly winds from SW to SE similarly accounted for the vast majority of rain arriving in Reigate.
2014 was the warmest year on record according to the Central England Temperature record stretching back to 1772. The UK mean temperature for 2014 was 9.9C, 1.1C above the 1981-201 average and 1.47C above the longer term CET average. The Reigate mean temperature for 2014 was 11.5C, with a max 30.2C (23/07) and min -2.9C (31/12). The temperature record was broken by stealth and not by extreme values. 11 months of 2014 remained above the long term average. 4 months exceeded 2C above average, a further 7 months were above or very near 1C above average and only August dipped below courtesy of extra-tropical storm Bertha. Extreme heat was mostly absent, as was extreme cold. There was no snowfall in Reigate during 2014 and a notable absence of frost until some crisp days during December.
The annual ring chart below for Reigate also shows how August dipped significantly from the curve. The rest of 2014 however was much warmer, resuming the upward temperature trend globally after the hiatus or temperature pause over the last 18 years. Nevertheless, it wasn’t the warmest year for every part of the UK and a useful chart by Ed Hawkins (climate scientist Reading Uni @Ed_Hawkins http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~ed/home/index.html ) reveals that parts of the UK had a cooler year than others and their warmest annual temperature record, technically, has yet to fall.
The animation below shows Europe bathed in above-average anomalous temperatures for the entire year, except momentarily dipping around August.
2014 started stormy and windy. The 3 month mean pressure charts below shows the mean pressure pattern during early 2014 and illustrates the air flow yielding our stormy and wet Jan and Feb: note the strong SW winds that result from the location of the LOW pressure in the Atlantic near Iceland up against the strong Azores high to the south creating a steep pressure gradient and resultant high winds. This situation yielded a positive North Atlantic Oscillation which correlates with a warm, stormy wet winter. Contrast the winter chart with the rather slack flow of 2014 summer. These are mean sea level pressure charts for those 3 months seasons.
The charts below show wind regime and gusts in Reigate during the year. The highest gust of 52mph occured on 25 January.
In August the notable Ex-Hurricane Bertha, despite limited realtime impacts on the UK, delivered a sting in her tail by lowering temperatures across the UK in her wake by introducing a cooler-than-average NW flow for August.
Finally, Reigate had 1560 hours of sunshine in 2014. 2014 was a sunny year though not outstandingly so. December was notably sunny for the time of year with over 100 hours of sunshine, over 160% more sunny than usual!