Published on 17 Nov 2011

Autumn, changeable? Not this year

Autumn – it’s a distinctive time of year. The long days of summer become a distant memory as the nights draw in and winter fast approaches.

Often the weather in the UK during autumn is a changeable feast with spells of wind and rain, interspersed with drier, brighter but chillier interludes. However, so far this autumn, the weather has been stuck in a rut.

Temperatures have been above average during September, October and the first half of November, with winds often blowing from a southerly quarter, bathing the UK in warm air.

On 1 October, Gravesend, Kent reached a record breaking 29.9C, making it the highest temperature recorded in the UK in October. Thousands of people flocked to the beaches to take advantage of the unseasonably late burst of warmth.

There’s also been a persistent trend in the distribution of rainfall across the UK this autumn. Northern and western areas have generally had above average rainfall, while further south and east there has been a distinct lack of rain – which has had its consequences.

As of the 10 November, the Environment Agency has Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, west Norfolk, along with parts of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire in drought conditions. Back in June Channel 4 News was reporting how farmers in parts of England were struggling with a very dry spring.

It’s hardly surprising when looking at monthly rainfall figures from the Met Office. Large areas of central and eastern England have only had a third to half of their average rainfall during September and October.

It’s not just September and October that have been dry. Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Rutland and Shropshire have had their driest first 10 months of the year when examining records that go back to 1910.

So why has the weather been stuck in a rut this autumn? It’s all down to the position of the jet stream across the UK. The jet stream is a ribbon of fast moving wind high up in the atmosphere that steers rain bearing weather systems.

Normally its position fluctuates during autumn, but this year it’s been sitting across the northwest of the UK for much of the time. This has taken most of the rainfall there, leaving other parts of the UK drier than normal.

What’s been your perception of autumn so far? I’d be really interested to hear your comments below. I’ll take a look at the full autumn stats when they become available in two weeks’ time.

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5 reader comments

  1. Rich Desborough says:

    Well, I’ve never known such a hot late summer and mild autumn in my life. The leaves are taking a lot longer to fall from the trees and I suspect a lot of birds might be getting confused with what’s going on. I hope they don’t start to breed soon!

  2. Pamela says:

    well its not been 29 degrees here in Northern Ireland but we have so far had a mild but extremely wet autumn! Today we have high winds shaking the leaves from the trees and heavy rain again with the temperature dropping from yesterday around 11 degrees to a top temp of 9 today. I for one am glad of the mild weather except for the flies which are about in November, I haven’t needed my heating on as much as last year . . . yet!

    1. Tone Beckett says:

      Well, hardly any rain here in north London and v mild. Think we’ve had 2 nights of frost so far. Must admit i’m getting a little bored of it being the same all the time now.

  3. kateB says:

    llyn peninsula-wonderful autumn-warm-breezy-gorgous colors-swimmin till early november.
    has just kicked in wiv fresher temps these last 10 days-lapwings about=other migrational poppets.

    awesome sunrises+sunsets as look over 2 mtns+coast. no complaints here-we were in the chill zone this time last year-which could still appear!!!!!!!

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