December breaks temperature records - but even with only four dry days Marlborough avoids many of the month's downpours
Since my weather station began in 1984 there has not been a month with which to compare December 2015. We have been very fortunate not to suffer the torrential rain that has flooded many parts of the UK, but records have been broken here in Marlborough - even if not for the month's total rainfall.
Due to the almost continuous southerly winds - a total of twenty-seven days of them - it was an exceedingly warm month. The record for the warmest day in December was set on December 18 and 19 with a maximum of 14.4C when the daytime mean for the month is 6.9C.
The record warmest night for December was also broken overnight on the 26/27 - the thermometer did not drop below 12.8C when the nigh-time mean is 1C. That is a significant difference.
It is not surprising that it was the warmest December since my records began in 1984 with a mean temperature of 9.9C, which is 5.5C above the month's long-term average.
Despite the unseasonably early daffodils, primroses and catkins, it was mainly a grey and gloomy month. The novelist George Eliot wrote in December 1862: “The constantly heavy-clouded, and often wet weather tends to increase the depression. I am inwardly irritable and unvisited by good thoughts.”
There were times during December 2015 when I had sympathy with this view. I did briefly see a fragmented rainbow, but nothing as grand as the one taken in February 2014 - see the photo that leads this report.
There were only four dry days in December with total rainfall for the month amounting to 81.5mm. This total is 10mm less or 89 per cent of the long-term average. The wettest day occurred on the penultimate day of the month with 18.3mm. Small hail fell briefly during a storm on December 24.
With the very warm, moist air, sunshine was notable for its absence! Just 25.6 hours were recorded compared to the total of 64.5 hours for 2014 - the year this instrument was installed.
Solar energy was just 85 per cent of the six-year average.