It’s official – now Reading’s wettest winter on record

With 5.5 mm of rain falling in the 24 hours to 9 a.m. today (18 February), measurements made by Mike Stroud at the University’s weather station at Whiteknights show that 348 mm of rain has fallen there this winter so far, making it the wettest winter since reliable records began at the University in 1908.

Before 2014, the wettest winters had been those of 1914/15 (when 328 mm fell) and 1989/90 (which had 345 mm of precipitation). These totals should be compared to the climatological average winter rainfall total for Reading of just 164 mm – showing that this winter has been more than twice as wet as normal. In fact, most of this rain (corresponding to over half the normal annual total) fell in just nine weeks from mid-December 2013.

The only wetter seasons at the University in the past 106 years have occurred in autumn  – namely those autumns of 2000 (353 mm), 1974 (352 mm) and 1960 (349 mm).

The rain has been associated with the effects of numerous low pressure systems this winter, which have followed each other towards the U.K. without any significant anticyclonic interlude. This is reflected in the fact that we have now had 26 days each of which had over 5 mm of rain since mid-December. This number of ‘5 mm+’ days is more than has been recorded in any other season of the year since records began.

In addition, because of the lack of any persistent high pressure, the average barometric pressure in Reading for the winter (up to 18 February) stands at 1003.4 hPa – lower than in any other season since 1908. Not surprisingly it has also been, therefore, a windy winter – gusts over 40 mph being measured on 19 days – peaking at 76 mph on Christmas Eve.

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