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)
Reading University (7 days of temperature and sunshine)
Maiden Erlegh School
Maidenhead (Berkshire, UK): Recent observations and the latest forecast from the author of these pagesMarch 2014 - some warm days
The figure below shows the daily maximum (green) and minimum (black) temperatures in Reading during 2014 - compared to the highest (red symbol) and lowest (blue symbol) and the daily averages (red dots, blue dots) in the preceding 26 years. Maximum temperatures on the 7th and 8th March were close to the highest on record for early March.
The wettest winter since before 1859 in Maidenhead
February was, by the 7th, a wetter-than-average month. 25.6 mm of rain fell in the 24 hours to 7 a.m. on the 7th - this made Thursday 6th the second wettest February day locally in 35 years.
The total rainfall for February totalled 109.2 mm, compared to the average rainfall for the whole of February of just 43.7 mm. This makes it the wettest February since 1951 when 117.6 mm fell.
For the winter as whole (December, January and February), Maidenhead would normally expect to receive 169 mm of rain. For the winter of 2013/14 the rainfall total was 374.5 mm, making it the wettest winter in local records that go back to 1859. It is also worth noting that almost all of this rain has fallen since 13th December and the rainfall this winter is equivalent to 57% of the normal annual rainfall total in Maidenhead.
Only three other winters since 1859 have seen in excess of 300 mm falling - namely
- 1994/95 - 304 mm fell in Boyn Hill.
- 1989/90 - 327 mm was the total for the town,
- 1914/15 - 315 mm was the town's rainfall.
So what might come after this winter?
While historical weather events are not necessarily a guide to the future it is interesting to note what has happened after the wettest winters in the Maidenhead record prior to 2014.
- Each of the three winters listed above were followed by a dry or very dry spring.
- The spring of 1915 had two notable droughts when about 10 mm of rain fell in almost ten weeks. May was a little wet but then June was dry and July turned wet.
- In the spring of 1990 just 41.9 mm of rain fell locally making it the second driest spring on record in Maidenhead since 1859. The summer of 1990 was hot and sunny and after February it was a very dry until December.
- August 1995 was hot and dry and the summer was generally a warm one. The period April to August was remarkably dry with just 1 mm of rain and almost 270 hours of sunshine in August.
News reports are saying that the current local flooding along parts of the Thames Valley is the worst since early 1947. That year the winter precipitation amounts had been very close to normal - but all three months were cold with February having an average temperature that was some 6 degC below average in east Berkshire:
Not surprisingly then, weather records from the University of Reading show that snow fell on 21 days in February and March. With the ground frozen and snow covered, when the fourth spell of heavy rain in nine days fell on the 12th there was nowhere for melting snow and runoff to go except downhill and into the rivers.
But even in 1947 all the summer months from May to September were warmer than average with just 5 mm of rain in August. and ten days saw the temperature reach 30 C at the University during the summer.
Maybe this is just nature's way of saying that nothing lasts forever? But note also that there have of course, given the natural variability of the weather, been other very wet (but not quite as wet) winters after which the spring and summer months have not been so benign (for example
- the summer of 1877 when late May frosts in Berkshire created havoc with budding potato plants and only June was dry, and
- the spring/summer of 1912 when (after an almost totally dry April) the summer was one of the wettest for 50 years).
Fingers crossed then!
Older news items can be found here.
Note that the observations below 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.