Its official – last month was very cold!

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Its official, the past month was Britain’s coldest December for 120 years. It was also the chilliest individual calendar month since February 1986,  with temperatures dropping as low as -21.1C in the Scottish Highlands.

The benchmark Central England Temperature plunged to an average of -0.6C over the month, the lowest figure for December since 1890, according to MeteoGroup UK, the weather forecasting division of the Press Association.

Some more figures:

  • There were 10 nights in December 2010 when the temperature fell below -18C somewhere in the UK.
  • Altnaharra in Sutherland, Scotland, experienced the coldest conditions, with temperatures plummeting to -21.1C early on December 1.
  • By contrast, St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly basked in the relative warmth of a high of 11.5C on December 28.
  • Over the month, the lowest average maximum temperature of -0.4C was recorded in Dalwhinnie and Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, and the highest of 7.6C in St Mary’s.
  • The average minimum temperature ranged from -8.4C in Tyndrum in Stirlingshire, Scotland, to 4.9C in St Mary’s.

Much of Britain may have been freezing and snowbound in December, but it was drier and sunnier than usual!

  • Rainfall averaged 39.5mm over England and Wales (39% of the mean for 1971-2000), the lowest total for December since 1971, 48mm over Scotland (47%) and 59mm over Northern Ireland (60%).
  • Northern Ireland enjoyed 80 hours of sunshine over the month (227% of the mean for 1971-2000), Scotland 59 hours (178%) and England and Wales averaged 56 hours (117%).
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