Recent 3-hourly local weather observationsHigh Wycombe and Heathrow
Recent daily automatic weather station filesWokingham, updated daily
Reading University, updated minute-by-minute (not always available to everyone)
Maiden Erlegh School
Maidenhead (Berkshire, UK): Recent observations and the latest forecast from the author of these pages
March 2013 - the coldest by day for over 110 years
With an average temperature of 4.1C (3.5 degC colder than average) March 2013 was the coldest March in Maidenhead since 1962. Only three days had maximum temperatures above average and during the 23rd to 25th maximum temperatures were lower than what would normally be expected overnight during late March.
The persistence of winds from between the north and east was remarkable - at 0900 GMT the wind blew from these directions on 24 days. Given that Scandinavia was very cold in late February and throughout March it was not suprising, therefore, that March was cold in Maidenhead.
Sunshine duration was much less than average in March with 66 hours measured compared to the climatological average of 111 hours. These cloudy conditions meant that nights were milder than might have otherwise been expected in such 'easterly conditions' (being 2.5 degC colder than average) while days were colder (at 4.5 degC colder than average).
In fact, the cold conditions by day were remarkably cold relative to the average for any month - the anomaly of -4.5 degC made March daytime temperatures the lowest locally for over 110 years. Even in 1962 the March daytime temperatures were about 1 degC higher than in 2013.
March 20013 was only marginally warmer (by less than 0.1 degC) than February 2013, and was colder than January 2013. More information can be found here.
Cold days in March 2013 (updated 25 March)
Correctly, the overall perception of March 2013 has been one of mainly unusually cold conditions. Here in Maidenhead three days have stood out in this regard, namely
- 11 March - maximum temperature 1.8C
- 23 March - maximum temperature 1.5C
- 24 March - maximum temperature 1.3C
Each of these readings are remarkably low for March in Maidenhead. On average, the coldest day in March records a maximum temperature of 6.0C. Since 1953 the only colder March days in Maidenhead than those that have occured in 2013 were in 1986 (maximum temperature 0.6C on the 1st with the temperature at Hurley failing to rise above freezing), in 1965 (1.3C on the 4th) and 1971 (1.6C on the 6th).
The readings of 1.5C on the 23rd and 1.3C on the 24th in 2013 are the more remarkable in that during 40 years of temperature observations at Hurley (a slightly colder site than Maidenhead), the coldest March day during 21st-31st March was a relatively 'balmy' 2.8C on 24 March 1969.
Deep snowfall, January 2013
The snow depth peaked at about 15 cm on Friday 18 January 2012 but by 0900 GMT on Saturday had fallen slightly to 12 cm, with a depth of 9 cm being recorded on Sunday morning, just before the advent of another spell of snowfall. The initial fall of snow on Friday was brought to us from the west, while on Sunday we caught the western edge of an area of snow that pushed NE'wards across SE England from the near continent.
The Saturday depth of 12 cm was the deepest morning depth since the 13 cm that was measured on 21 December 2010. In the past 23 years at Boyn Hill there have been three spells with deeper snow - all occurring relatively recently - namely 18-27 December 2009 (16 cm on the 18th), 6-16 January 2010 (16 cm on the 7th) and the 18-28 December 2010 (15 cm on the 19th and 20th).
The fall this year (January 2013) was preceded by an 'ice day' on the 16th (a day when the maximum temperature remained below 0C) but conditions have not been particularly cold so far this month at night, due to rather cloudy skies. The minimum temperature as of the morning of the 20th had been only -3.6C on the 16th.
The year 2012 - from drought to rains
Temperature and sunshine averaged close to normal values, but there was a large range of temperature with an unusually cold day in December. The year turned from one of drought to flood and was the wettest overall since 2000, although only 84mm fell in the first three months. Five months recorded in excess of 100mm of rain; this has never happened before in the local record back to 1859; there were 4 instances in 1946.
Older news items can be found here.
Note that the observations refer to the period 0900-0900GMT while the forecasts are for 0600-1800GMT maximum and 1800-0600GMT minimum temperatures.
In these two charts the red line shows the mean of several forecasts. The thin blue lines show the range of values predicted by the different NCEP (ensemble) forecasts, while the dark blue lines give an idea of the standard deviation. The rainfall total is the six-hour total ending at the time indicated (the dates along the bottom axis are written at 0000GMT).
The increase in spread of the forecast values in the previous two charts gives an ideas as to when the forecasts become to be unreliable.
Maidenhead's daily and monthly weather reports
Local climatology (updated January 2009)These two sets of data have been compiled using observations made at my home weather station since June 1988. This is a suburban site and is slightly warmer than Hurley because of this. Also, the observations were made at a generally later date than those of Hurley, and the extra warmth is also an indicator of 'global warming'.
The following information has been extracted from the daily weather observations made at Hurley during 1953-1992. This is a rural site.