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%).