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February 2006

(all temperatures in degrees Celsius; all averages 1961 – 1990)

Mean daily maximum: 6.9
Difference from average: +0.6

Mean daily minimum: 1.1
Difference from average: +0.9

Mean air temperature: 4.0
Difference from average: +0.8

Absolute maximum: 12.4 (5th)

Absolute minimum: -4.9 (1st)

Mean grass minimum: -0.3

Absolute grass minimum: -6.1 (1st)

Number of ground frosts: 13

Number of air frosts: 9

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 4.2

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 5.8

(all totals in millimetres; all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 28.2
Difference from average: -13.4

Percentage of the average: 68%

Wettest day: 9.4 (23rd)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 9

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 7

3-month total rainfall to 28th February: 86.6
Difference from average: -71.3

6-month rainfall total to 28th February: 297.6
Difference from average: -23

12-month rainfall total to 28th February: 577.3
Difference from average: -71.7

(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 84%

(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 58.9 hours
Difference from average: -6.5

Percentage of the average: 90.1%

Mean daily sunshine: 2.2 hours
Difference from average: -0.1

Sunniest day: 8.2 hours (18th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 6

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 107.4 hours
Difference from average: -11.8


The mean wind speed: 12.8km/h [6.9kt]
Difference from average: -0.9km/hr

The highest gust: 70.4km/h [38kt] from 38° at 06:06 GMT on 24th


Comments on February 2006
Whilst mean temperature was below average in the south of the country, Durham reflected conditions generally across the northern part with a mean air temperature 0.8°C above average. Nevertheless, it was not a particularly warm February, ranking 91st in 157 years. It was a somewhat mixed month with some chilly days towards the end of the month, but with 5 days having maximum temperatures above 10°C. The lowest daily maximum was 0.9°C on the 2nd.

Like February, the overall winter average temperature was also 4.0°C. This was the lowest since 2001 but even so, the running 10-year mean for winter mean air temperatures reached 4.5°C for the first time. Winter 2005-06 ranked 103rd in 156 years of record.

February was another dry month. The winter total of 86.6mm was not as low as last year but even so was the 22nd driest winter since 1852-53 (2005 ranks 11th). All long-term rainfall totals are below average, as might be expected. The 24-month total up to and including February 2006 (1211.8mm) is the lowest since February 1998. This is not a particularly low 24-month total, ranking 514th in a total series of 1827 such 24-month totals, but nevertheless reflects the impact of a second dry winter, an unusual occurrence in recent decades. Interestingly, if we add winter 2005 and winter 2006 rainfall (161.4mm), this is the 2nd driest total for a pair of winters on record since 1853-54, only beaten by 1858-59, which was a very much drier pair, only totalling 91.7mm between them!

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University