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January Record Wet Month for South-central England, Record Dry for California

By: Christopher C. Burt, 8:09 PM GMT on February 03, 2014

January Record Wet Month for South-central England, Record Dry for California

January was the wettest winter month on record for south-central England and the driest January on record for California. A persistent powerful jet stream across the North Atlantic was responsible for the former and a persistent powerful ridge of high pressure over the Eastern Pacific responsible for the latter. Here are some of the details.

The Radcliffe Meteorological Station at Oxford University in the U.K. measured 146.9 mm (5.78”) of precipitation this past January, the wettest winter month ever observed here since records began in 1767, one of the longest POR’s for precipitation in the world. The previous January record was 138.7 mm (5.46”) in January 1852 and the wettest winter month was 143.3 mm (5.64”) in December 1914. Other sites in southern England that have also endured their wettest January on record include:

Reading with 137 mm (5.39”), former record 129 mm (5.08”) in 1995

Dorcester with 254 mm (10.00”), former record 213 mm (8.39”) in 1906

Bournemouth with 248 mm (9.76”), former record I’m not sure of.

Precipitation departures from normal for the U.K. as of January 28th. A final monthly report will be issued by the U.K. Met Office on February 6th. Map courtesy of the U.K. Met Office and copyright of the Crown.

A graph of January rainfall for southeast and central England from 1910-2014. Graphic courtesy of the U.K. Met office.

Incessant rainfall and a series of storms have been lashing the British Isles since early December resulting in some of the worst flooding seen for decades in portions of southern England. The region around Somerset resembles a vast lake. At least 150 homes have been flooded. More stormy weather is forecast for this week.

British military units have been active in flood rescue efforts in the worst affected regions such as Somerset. Photo credited to SWNS.

Warmest and Driest January on record for California

Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services has compiled a preliminary short list (below) outlining some of the weather statistics for some major cities in California this past January. Although the average maximum temperatures have smashed the previous records for such, it is not yet clear if the overall average temperatures have been record-breakers, since the dry air resulted in some very cool nights mitigating the overall temperature averages. (NOTE: the temperature figures for Los Angles appear to be incorrect—see chart following list below).

Jan Null’s preliminary list of some California January temperature and precipitation data. Jan Null, Golden Gate Weather Services.

Some of the January climate statistics for southwestern California complied by the NWS office at Oxnard.

I’ll have a more comprehensive overview of the drought and January warmth in California once the information becomes available.

KUDOS: Stephen Burt for the U.K. precipitation data and Jan Null for the California information.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather Precipitation Records

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Stunning map of the UK; thanks for the new entry.
I'm really sorry that there isn't a detailed map of above/below precipitation readings for whole Europe available, as far as I know.

Today I found this one, although many data may lacking and it isn't quite uptodate:

Situation of drought in Europe - 2nd ten-day period of January 2014


Bottom water sources of Lake Sapanca drain away
TR_ISTA - 03.02.2014 19:39:01
Lake Sapanca, one of the biggest water reservoirs of Turkey's Marmara region faces with one of the serious water withdrawal, which was triggered by one of the serious drought and excessive consuming.
Water level of Sapanca has drastically been decreasing since the one- year finally reached the alarming point as the bottom water resources which nourishes the Sapanca nearly dried out. According to the last image which was taken by divers showing that the lake has not been nourishing by the deep water springs.
A group of diver experts, who dived into the lake to monitor the effects of drought, found out that the situation is not better at the bottom than outside. Experts announced that bottom feeding sources of the lake dried out which might be considered as the worst scenario for the environmental disaster in Sapanca.


We should build a worldwide pipe network not for oil or gas but to divert superfluous water to places which need it ... ;-)
The figures for NorCal for precip and temps are astounding. Even in the worst drought years I cannot recall anything close to the 0.06" figure for SF. This is supposed to be their wettest month of the year.

BTW, it hit -74F in Siberia today. I think this is the coldest so far this year. How does that compare to a "normal" year? I know it is nowhere near their all-time low of -96F, but what about a "typical" year (I guess their average lowest temp of the year)?
Postojna/Slovenia, freezing rain:
Sydney has recorded its lowest summer rainfall to date in more than 70 years, as the state swelters through its driest January in more than a decade.

Read more: Link

Sao Paulo swelters in record heatwave

Residents of Brazil's business hub Sao Paulo are sweltering in record temperatures after a January with the highest average in 70 years, while low rainfall could lead to water rationing.

Meteorologists recorded 35.8 Celsius (96.4 Fahrenheit) Saturday afternoon -- the highest February temperature since records began in 1943. And the Inmet meteorological institute said Sunday the hot spell would continue.

The seething metropolis of 20 million has been laboring under baking conditions since the turn of the year.

In some parts of Tajikistan, up to 80 centimeters of snow reportedly fell in just a few hours.

Severe weather warning as 80mph winds head to Northern Ireland

1. barbamz
If one gets by the terrible translation here , the message is that the Turks have pumped the ground water so that this lake is no longer fed from springs at it’s bottom.
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