By Paul Homewood

According to the Met Office, last year was a “Remarkable Year” as far as weather was concerned, and the year before a “ Year of Extremes”! I wonder what absurd epithet they’ll use for this year?

As you may recall, a couple of months ago I compared the weather of 1940, 1950 and 1960 with 2020. This year I will do the same with 1941, 1951, 1961 and 1971, but on a monthly basis. I have no idea what the outcome will be, but I very much doubt if this year’s weather will be any more extraordinary.

Last month was rather unremarkable. It was slightly colder and wetter than average, but not unusually so. (You might notice that the Met Office are still incorrectly using 1981-2010 as the baseline). It was 1.7C colder than the 30-year average and 15mm wetter.

Snowfall was commonplace, but not unusually severe. What you might call a normal January’s weather.

January 1941 really was an extreme month by any account. It was not quite as brutally cold as the previous January, but otherwise was the coldest January since 1895.

Even now it is still the sixth coldest on record in the UK, and heavy snow was widespread:

January 1951 was not as cold as in 1941, but there was considerable snow at times:

January was another cold and wet month ten years later, with a particularly stormy period at the end of the month.

January 1971 however was at the other end of the scale, and saw a number of extreme weather events. It was a particularly mild month, unusually free of snow.

On the 10th, an unusually warm spell brought record temperatures to many areas. Aber in Wales experienced a temperature of 18.3C, which still stands a the highest January temperature anywhere in the UK. More heavy rain brought floods to the south later in the month.

A few days earlier, heavy rainfall affected the north and west of the country. To cap it all, whirlwinds caused widespread damage across southern England.

What is striking about these weather reports is just how variable UK weather is from year to year, and indeed week to week. Wet, dry, cold , mild, snowy or stormy – we can, and should, expect to see them all at any time.


February 6, 2021 at 12:54PM