Marlborough's weather: February was winter one day and spring the next - but as a whole Britain's winter was the warmest since 1659
Although meteorologically we have just moved from winter to spring, neither the calendar nor the weather recognise this arbitrary arrangement with a decidedly wintry outlook for this week. I thought this Japanese proverb worth considering - “One kind word can warm three winter months”.
This was a very changeable month. It started very mild with four days in the first week with maxima in double figures (10.4 – 12.6C) when the mean for the month is 7.1C, with winds mainly from a westerly direction.
With the wind then backing to come from a northeasterly direction for a few days, maximum temperatures fell below the mean with a very cold day on February 13 that produced a maximum of only 3.6C.
There were eleven nights when an air frost occurred, the most severe recorded on February 16 with a low down in the town of minus 5.0C. However, the mean temperature for February 2016 was still 0.3C above the long-term average.
Rainfall for the month totalled 70.1mm, just 5mm above the long-term average. There were 14 dry days with the wettest 24-hour period occurring on February 6 with 22.7mm.
Although there were six days when no strong sunshine was recorded the total for the month was 62.55 hours with February 18 being the sunniest producing 7.11 hours.
A February record was set on the last two days of the month with the peak UV level the highest I have recorded (2.5 and 2.6 respectively on a scale of 0 – 10) since this instrument was installed in 2010.
A stream of meteorological records has been broken over the last few years with another being set for the past winter. It was the warmest I have recorded since this station began in 1984 - being 2.2C above the long-term average.
According to the Met Office it has been the warmest in England since records began in the seventeenth century.
The Central England Temperature (CET) series began in 1659 and this winter has beaten the previous record set in 1868-69. The CET is the longest running temperature record in the world and is based on measurements at three observation stations within a roughly triangular area between Bristol, Lancashire and London.
Rainfall for the three months of winter totalled 264mm being 14mm above the long-term average.
It is unusual to have so few days in winter with the wind coming from an easterly or northeasterly direction in winter. This year just 3 and 6 respectively were recorded for the three months.
During these winter months we enjoyed 131 hours of strong sunshine, which is 53 hours less than last year when this instrument was installed - so no long-term comparison can be made for Marlborough.