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November Rainfall

December 5, 2015

By Paul Homewood  


As noted earlier, November has been an unusually mild one in the UK. The Met Office summarise:


November was a generally mild month with an often humid south-westerly flow bringing cloudy conditions. It was dry and exceptionally warm during the first few days, with record-breaking temperatures locally, but the rest of the month was unsettled and often windy, and the autumn storms ‘Abigail’, ‘Barney’ and ‘Clodagh’ all caused some disruption. There was a notable absence of frost apart from during a brief cold snap from the 21st to 23rd which brought some snow to northern and eastern Britain, especially on high ground, and there was also some snow in Scotland near the end of the month.


Given the meteorological set up for nearly the while of the month. there should be no surprise that it has also been a wet month, particularly given the various “storms” that have passed our way.

However, as the England & Wales Precipitation Series shows, November was by no means an exceptional month. In the Series which goes back to 1766, last month ranked only 51st wettest with 126.2mm, against the long term mean of 94mm.





The wettest November on record was in 1852 with 202.5mm, while the driest was in 1945, when just 17mm fell.

In terms of the year as a whole, it looks like this year will end up slightly wetter than average, ranking around 100th wettest.


This chart shows as well as any just how variable the weather can be in the UK. If there are any long term trends in November rainfall, whatever the cause, they are so small as to be totally swamped by natural variability.

  1. December 5, 2015 2:55 pm

    Paul, very off topic but I did notice this elsewhere:

    They seem to neglect that Uruguay is a developing country with a population of 3.3 million and a 55% hydro sector. The INDC does not seem so sensationalist.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      December 5, 2015 7:19 pm

      and only 15% have access to electricity..

      I assume there total usage is probably on par with a small town in the UK.
      (not bothering to search for data, though)

  2. Stonyground permalink
    December 5, 2015 3:03 pm

    I’ve seen it mentioned somewhere that November 1946 was very mild too. The winter of 1947 not so much. I’m not suggesting that this is any kind of omen or anything, weather tends to be far too random to draw any conclusions from this.

    All this talk about November rain makes me think of Guns & Roses.

  3. December 5, 2015 3:56 pm

    Just for the record. South Oxfordshire November Rainfall 65.3mm, average 1981-2010 (the 30 years the Met Office use) 69.7mm so 6.3% drier than the average. However it did rain on 28 out of 30 days. As for 2015 – if December has average rainfall, the total will be 570.1 mm with the average 662.1. 13.3% drier than the average. This is a Met Office site.

  4. December 5, 2015 3:58 pm

    might be a good idea to check Keswick rainfall totals. Will be in the news shortly

  5. rwoollaston permalink
    December 5, 2015 11:07 pm

    But then, it was the first November in which we’ve had three named storms!

  6. NeilC permalink
    December 6, 2015 7:21 am

    Thanks Paul. It is a shame that these long term records, particularly temperature and rainfall, are not highlighted more in the MSM. It would be harder for the sensationalists to argue their case.

  7. John Peter permalink
    December 6, 2015 9:14 pm

    Please research if the 14 inches in 36 hours is really “unprecedented”. I note that other countries including Norway have also had their share of “the wet stuff”. Poor old Desmond will also be blamed on CO2, climate change, extreme weather and CAGW all in one go.

  8. John Peter permalink
    December 6, 2015 9:35 pm

    MET Office
    Monday 18 July 1955 Most Rainfall: 279.4 mm at Winterborne St. Martin (Martinstown) Dorset.
    Friday 15 August 1952 Most Rainfall: 228.6 mm at Longstone Barrow (Devon)
    Just a couple of picks from
    and these are presumably 24 hour periods.
    So what is so unprecedented about poor Desmond?

  9. Billy Liar permalink
    December 7, 2015 12:04 am

    Watch out for some 1984 style revisionism in the next 24 hours. It is being reported that a record 314mm fell at Seathwaite Cumbria yesterday and that this is a 24-hour record for the UK. According to this page it ain’t, because 316mm fell in 24-hours in 2009 (see below from an impeccable source).

    I can’t wait to hear the BBC and the remaining usual suspects trying to spin the recent storm as a record breaker.

    It is notable that both these heavy rainfall events have occurred in below normal Atlantic hurricane seasons. The ACE for 2009 was 53 and this year 59.

    Heavy rainfall/flooding in the Lake District, Cumbria – November 2009

    Exceptionally prolonged and heavy rainfall on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 November led to severe flooding across parts of the Lake District.

    Some areas of high ground received more than 400 mm of rainfall in a 72-hour period, and Seathwaite, Cumbria, recorded 316 mm of rainfall within 24 hours.

    • Billy Liar permalink
      December 7, 2015 12:21 am

      Whoops! Not 314mm but apparently 13″ = 330.2mm so it may well be a record.

      • AndyG55 permalink
        December 7, 2015 9:14 am

        13″.. …..really !! .. must be close to a record. !!

  10. December 7, 2015 10:47 am

    On the Today programme this morning, the BBC stated: “Storm Desmond has broken all the records. 34cm of rain fell in 24 hours over the weekend. More that ever before in the United Kingdom.

    Apart from the fact that they didn’t specify over what area that rainfall was (was it just one weather station or many), they can’t justify the more “more than ever before”, but rather “more than on record”. Also, it isn’t clear whether they literally mean the “United Kingdom”, which as far as I can tell, literally only goes back to 1927, in it’s present form.

    It will be interesting to see how the actual figures, when they are published, compare with the historical data,

  11. December 7, 2015 5:55 pm

    According to MO HadUKP data, starting in 1910, the record daily rainfall figure for Northwest England and Wales, was 51.62 mm (across the whole region) in October 2005,
    I’m waiting to see what the equivalent figure is for this month.

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