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Huncoat Weather Records
Contents
Latest News Recent Monthly Reports Recent Rainfall data
Recent Sunshine data Recent Temperature data Older Data
My Station Site Location The wettest places in Britain Climate over History
Local Climate Overview Other Weather Websites Arctic Sea Ice Latest

Reports and data tables updated regularly, usually during the first week of each new month.
Please note, the focus of this site is local climatology which is the study of climate and past weather rather than meterology the science of forecasting the weather.
For information on up to the minute local conditions and forecasts see -
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/accrington or
http://www.a-sojourn.me.uk/Weather/wx.htm or
higham-weather.com/index.html.

Latest News

June 2014

A warm June with relatively steady high air pressure after an unsettled first week.
But particularly remarkable is the lack of any high temperatures often common in June.
The dryness would have been exceptional but for 50% of the total falling in one day.
Very sunny with only one windy day.

Outlook for July

Changeable and wet at times interspersed with some drier, brighter or sunny periods.
Temperatures are likely to be near normal with some warm humid days.

Recent Monthly Reports

May 2014

Slightly warmer than most Mays but only 88% of average sunshine.
43% wetter than normal.

Spring 2014

Total rainfall in Mar, Apr and May was 11.38 inches, 120% of average.
Total sunshine for Mar, Apr and May was 384 hours, 114% of normal.
The mean temperature for Mar, Apr and May was 9.5, an anomaly of +1.4

April 2014

Well above average temperatures and sunshine but a normal amount of rainfall.
Hardly any frost and no snow at all.

March 2014

Average rainfall and wind but 43% extra sunshine, very little frost and no snow.
Day-time temperatures were near normal but nights lacked any depth of cold.
Over all it was on the mild side for March.

February 2014

Mild, wet and windy with very little frost and no snow.
Day-time temperatures were no higher than normal but nights lacked any depth of cold.
The super-charged jet stream continued until mid-month but then slackened.
Rainfall was nearly double normal whilst sunshine was 87%.
It was the fourth wettest February in 42 years. 2002 was the worst with 10.90 inches.
The month had a very low mean pressure (990 mbrs), the lowest since 2000.

Winter 2013/14

Total rainfall in Dec, Jan and Feb was 20.38 inches, 143% of average.
My wettest winter since 1999 when the total was 22.73 inches.
Total sunshine for Dec, Jan and Feb was 122 hours, 85% of normal.
The mean temperature for Dec, Jan and Feb was 5.3, an anomaly of +2.1.
The mildest since the winter of 2006/07.

January 2014

The mildest January since 2008, 1.7C above average with little frost.
Perhaps worth noting that this was not due to any great warmth just lack of cold.
It was another month dominated by the jet stream bringing frequent rain and gales.
Rainfall was 156% of normal, sunshine 76%.
It was the fifth wettest January in 42 years. 2008 was the worst with 10.79 inches.
The month had a very low mean pressure, the lowest since 2000.

December 2013

Very unsettled and very mild, 2.1C above average with little frost.
Storm after storm swept in on the jet stream with frequent rain and gales.
Actual rainfall was 6% higher than normal, sunshine 24% less.
Very windy with the highest gust for many years on Friday 27th (56mph).
No white Christmas here but ironically, the coldest day was Christmas Day!
The low air pressure of 957 Millibars on the 23rd was the lowest since October 2000.

November 2013

Rather on the cold side with less rain and more sun than usual.
There was still a lot of dull and rainy days but falls were minimal.
More frost and thunder than normal.

Autumn 2013

The mean temperature has been 9.9 a fraction above average.
Total rainfall was 12.35 inches (313.7mm) 84% of average.
Total sunshine was 181 hours 84% of average.

October 2013

Sunshine of only 32 hours made it the dullest October in my records of 42 years.
Just 45% of the average for October with 7 sunless days.
It was the wettest October since 2008, 118% of normal with only 2 dry days.
The mean temperature was 1.7 Celsius above average and much milder than last year.

September 2013

Dry but dull and on the cool side.
The second driest September in 10 years.
The second dullest in 20 years.
The third coldest in 15 years.

August 2013

The warmest August since 2004 and the driest since 2003.
The Jet Stream has still been delivering us depressions but it has not been as strong as usual.

We have had the warmest, sunniest and driest summer (June, July and August) since 2006.

Incidence of late Spring and early Autumn ground frosts

Huncoat averages 35 ground frosts per year.
The most was 52 in 1987 and the least 11 in 2006.

Over 40 years-
The average date for the latest Spring ground frost is 13th April.
The latest Spring ground frost in any year was 4th June 1991.
In 1992 the last Spring ground frost occurred on 28th February (March to June being frost free).
In 2013 the last Spring ground frost was on 2nd May.

The average date for the earliest Autumn ground frost is 28th October.
The earliest Autumn ground frost in any year was 22nd September 2012.
In 2000 the first Autumn ground frost did not occur until 15th December (Sep to Nov being frost free).
In 1990 the first Autumn ground frost did not occur until 8th December (Sep to Nov being frost free).
In 2013 the first Autumn ground frost was on 4th November.

Summer 2013; How Did it Compare?
An analysis made in September 2013 after we all thought it had been a good summer.
Warmth... (in degrees Celsius)
Year19952006200319762013
Temperature17.917.817.216.716.6
For warmth 2013 ranks fifth in 67 years
Sunshine... (in hours)
Year197619951975194919551948195920032013
Amount676671624620605594568504504
For sunshine 2013 ranks ninth in 67 years
Dryness... (in millimetres of rain)
Year1976199519841983194919551981197519472005200320012013
Amount7497133143149171176179187194201224237
For dryness 2013 ranks thirteenth in 67 years

2013 Annual Summary

The mean temperature was 9.1 a fraction below average.
Total rainfall was 40.60 inches (1,032.7mm) 82% of average.
Total sunshine was 1,134 hours 100% of average.

2012 Annual Summary

With a total of nearly 70 inches it was the wettest year ever recorded at a Huncoat weather station.
This is going back personally 40 years and historically 140 years.
It even exceeded the astonishing figure of 67.54 inches set in 2000.
It included what must have been the worst June on record with devastating floods in many parts of Britain.
Rainfall at Huncoat exceeded the June 2007 figure of 7.70 inches to set a new record of 8.54 inches.
Friday 22nd was the wettest 24 hours in my 40 years of records. 2.88 inches surpassed even Hurricane Charlie in 1986. 2012 also included the wettest September in 40 years and the wettest summer on record with 24.13 inches.
It rained on 253 days of the year leaving only 113 dry!
On 214 days it rained during daylight which is about a month’s worth extra!

Sunshine was 8% below normal with a total of 1,042 hours and was the dullest year since 1998.
6 more days than the usual were completely sunless.

Temperatures and air pressure averaged out close to normal but still with a noticeable lack of warmth.
Many of the sunniest days were cold. Frost, hail, thunder and fog were all slightly up but snowfall was less.

Latest News on Arctic Sea Ice

Spring 2014

Arctic sea ice extent for May averaged 12.78 million square kilometers. This is 610,000 square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average for the month. May 2014 is now the third lowest May extent in the satellite record.
As the melt season is underway in the Arctic, freeze up is in progress in the Antarctic. Sea ice extent for May averaged 12.03 million square kilometers. This is 1.24 million square kilometers above the 1981 to 2010 average for the month. Antarctic sea ice for May 2014 currently ranks as the highest May extent in the satellite record.

Since reaching its annual maximum extent on March 21, Arctic sea ice extent declined somewhat unevenly, but was consistently well below its average 1981 to 2010 extent. While the rate of Arctic-wide retreat was rapid through the first half of April, it subsequently slowed down.
Arctic sea ice extent for April 2014 averaged 14.14 million square kilometers. This is 610,000 square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average extent, and 270,000 square kilometers above the record April monthly low, which occurred in 2007.

Arctic sea ice reached its annual maximum extent on March 21 and at 14.91 million square kilometers it was both the fifth lowest maximum and the fifth latest timing of the maximum since 1979. Overall, it is still a pattern of decline. Meanwhile, Antarctic sea ice reached its annual minimum on February 23, and was the fourth highest Antarctic minimum in the satellite record.

Autumn 2013

Arctic sea ice extent reached its annual minimum on September 13 at 5.10 million square kilometres. The sixth lowest in the satellite record, and reinforces the long-term downward trend in Arctic ice extent. After the minimum, sea ice extent remained largely unchanged for much of the middle of September, but increased rapidly toward the end of the month with the onset of strong autumn cooling.

Arctic sea ice extent for September 2013 averaged 5.35 million square kilometres. This was 1.17 million square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average extent but was 1.72 million square kilometers higher than the record low for the month that occurred in 2012.

October saw an improvement in the situation with ice cover more extensive than in 2012 but growing at a slower rate than last year, when ice extent doubled during the month of October. Average ice extent for October was 8.10 million square kilometers (3.13 million square miles), making it the 6th lowest October extent in the 35-year satellite data record.

Overall it seems this summer that Arctic sea ice loss was held in check by relatively cool and stormy conditions. As a result, 2013 saw substantially more ice at summer’s end, compared to last year’s record low extent. The Greenland Ice Sheet also showed less extensive surface melt than in 2012. Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, sea ice reached the highest extent recorded in the satellite record.

The ten lowest maximums in the satellite record of Arctic sea ice have occurred in the last ten years (2004 to 2013).

High (Arctic) latitudes are warming more than the mid latitudes leading to weakening of the pressure gradient allowing greater meandering of the Polar Jet Stream.

Arctic sea ice is just one of several drivers of the Jet Stream behaviour causing climatic variations in Britain.
Others are
The extent of northern hemisphere snow cover
Solar variations
Volcanic eruptions
El Nino
North Atlantic Oscillation
Sea surface temperature
Orographic blocking effect of the Greenland mass

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Rainfall.......at Huncoat (in inches)
YearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecTotal
20005.486.084.934.583.205.073.244.015.8011.029.434.7067.54
20013.085.232.594.783.112.671.915.336.047.224.333.1849.47
20024.1010.901.852.395.514.315.725.121.976.225.145.2358.46
20033.581.903.102.755.334.173.552.143.231.625.275.2041.84
20046.393.392.393.942.514.263.039.704.236.584.065.2755.75
20055.213.551.404.723.002.903.203.374.154.275.653.3744.79
20061.662.666.312.836.771.191.235.884.695.716.238.3153.47
20076.473.553.400.835.507.707.902.795.081.813.416.7955.23
200810.793.095.322.651.073.795.806.836.547.713.124.7561.46
20094.380.902.551.804.581.997.613.762.294.679.983.2547.76
20102.612.633.280.950.721.834.854.207.363.546.321.6539.94
20113.817.280.830.804.683.383.784.705.196.012.818.7152.00
20125.973.380.814.983.608.547.114.889.455.595.569.8169.68
20134.552.091.911.283.912.214.472.152.796.353.215.6840.60
20147.896.814.032.954.402.14......28.22
Average*5.093.593.662.783.023.643.494.004.475.275.065.5849.64
*40 years from 1973Wettest year - 2012 = 69.68 ins. Driest year - 1995 = 33.66 ins.
Wettest ever month - Oct 1980 = 11.35 ins. Driest ever month - Apr 1980 = 0.11 ins.
For a full table of historic annual rainfall totals at Huncoat click here.


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Sunshine.......at Huncoat (in hours)
YearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecTotal
20023240951561471281191171497760541174
2003741081451801681801681691498163801565
20043596901142311651401631108642601332
20053272801442101801331891487790661421
20064564751801681732941101547674391452
20075076120174154165147137949556691337
200826100759619615812685947263601156
20097044110162182195161124947735661320
2010705211015616821898137138108101751431
20114448113204154158186871035049201216
20125844135841829495105607463481042
201319746314198154242126783271361134
20143650108134142185......655
Average*465475110152137136129967149441100
*41 years from 1972Sunniest year - 2003 = 1565 hours, Dullest year - 1986 = 821 hours.
Sunniest ever month - July 2006 = 294 hours, Dullest ever month - Dec 1975 = 15 hours.
Please note that these are not precise readings taken with scientific instruments but careful estimates based upon personal observation of hourly cloud and sunlight conditions. This feeds into a specially worked out formula which has served me well over the years to calculate sunshine amounts. I am confident that the table is a good indicator of "sunshine" in Hyndburn and the values are periodically checked against other local sources to ensure reliability.

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Mean Temperature.....at Huncoat (in celsius)
MinimumJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
30 year average1.61.12.94.57.610.712.912.510.27.44.32.2
20091.72.13.86.18.010.712.713.110.78.75.71.5
2010-0.30.23.04.86.911.413.011.610.77.42.9-1.9
20111.84.23.67.68.210.311.812.111.59.57.43.6
20122.82.45.24.07.410.212.012.99.76.34.42.5
20131.70.6-0.93.26.410.114.113.09.89.32.93.7
20143.23.03.66.48.611.4......
MaximumJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
30 year average5.05.58.011.215.317.819.919.216.212.28.15.4
20094.95.19.014.014.919.318.918.915.913.19.34.5
20102.53.99.112.614.819.719.017.416.212.46.42.0
20115.17.99.715.814.717.218.717.216.914.011.27.0
20126.66.111.89.715.516.217.819.114.711.18.25.9
20134.95.14.810.613.417.922.319.815.813.88.08.1
20146.87.39.813.215.419.1......
Monthly MeanJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
30 year average3.33.35.57.811.414.216.415.813.19.86.23.8
20093.33.66.410.011.515.015.816.013.310.97.53.0
20101.12.16.08.710.915.516.014.513.49.94.60.0
20113.56.16.711.711.513.715.214.714.211.89.35.3
20124.74.28.56.911.413.214.916.012.28.76.34.2
20133.32.82.06.99.914.018.216.412.811.55.55.9
20145.05.16.79.812.015.2......

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Older Data
The above charts are updated every month.
However, if requested further data can be supplied about Hyndburn weather as follows....
Annual Rainfall from 1870Monthly and Daily Rainfall from 1973
Incidence of Snowfall from 1960Sunshine estimates from 1972
Barograph traces from 1974Temperature Data from 1974
Drought records from 1995Monthly Reviews from 1972
Local Extreme Weather PhenomenaLists of warm, dry or cold spells
Data can be made available in metric or imperial measurements
Please contact me with your requirements or questions.
There may be a charge for large amounts of information.

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The Wettest Places in Britain (seen from a Huncoat perspective)
A study by Roy Chetham first compiled in October 2003 and up-dated in November 2013.

Huncoat is a small historic village some 30 miles inland between Accrington and Burnley. As a consequence of being situated on the western slopes of the Pennines below the 1,340 feet high Great Hameldon it receives quite high annual rainfall, records of which, go back to 1875.

The earliest known record of rainfall in Britain was kept by Richard Towneley (1629-1707) of Towneley Hall in Burnley, which is just 5 miles east of Huncoat. He placed a funnel on the roof connected to a tube leading down to his bedroom window and measured and recorded the rainfall between 1677 and 1703. He found the annual mean fall to be 41.00 inches (1,041.4mm). His bedroom was in the east wing of the quadrangle which was removed early in the 18th Century so is no longer in existence.

Comprehensive records began to be kept around 1726 but it was not until 1860 that they were collected together systematically. George James Symons (1838-1900) took an interest in rainfall after the drought years of 1857-59. He took up a post with the Royal Meteorological Society and began to publish a series of annual books entitled "British Rainfall".

The first issue was really only a pamphlet giving the data from 168 “English” stations for 1860 but the enterprise quickly grew and within a quarter of a century he was publishing thick volumes containing over 2000 “British” rainfall recording stations and by the Centenary these exceeded 6000. Symons died in March 1890 aged 61 but the venture was continued by his assistant Herbert Sowerby Wallis and subsequently Hugh Robert Mill and Carle S. Salter until after the First World War it was absorbed into the Meteorological Office Air Ministry.

In the 1860 table the nearest station to Huncoat was Stonyhurst which returned 50.60 inches in that year. The annual mean fall at Stonyhurst from 1850 to 1977 was 47.55 inches (1,207.8 mm). Huncoat first appeared in the "British Rainfall" books in 1875 with readings taken at Burnley Road Reservoirs. Unfortunately, that station disappeared in 1982 but from 1961 readings had also been taken at the nearby Mitchell's House Reservoir at the head of Warmden Clough and those continue to this day. Rainfall was also recorded in Oak Hill Park, Accrington from 1939 until 1961, at Burnley Road Cemetery, Accrington from 1985 until 1997, at Coppy Clough Sewage works Church from 1947 to 1973 and at Jackhouse Reservoir Oswaldtwistle from 1870 to 1881 and 1966 to 1982.

Sadly, the Meteorological Office discontinued the publication of Rainfall Books after 1991 on economic grounds but the local water authorities still continue to measure and report rainfall amounts to the Environment Agency and Meteorological Office and the data eventually gets into their National Library and Archive at Exeter. In April 2010 the Royal Meteorological Society organised a meeting in London to mark the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the British Rainfall Organisation. To see my report of that event click here.

The modern rainfall recording network is governed by the Met Office who inspect the sites once every three years to make sure each site conforms to the required standards and is producing good data. The Environment Agency maintains a network of tipping bucket rain gauges to supply information of relevance to flood defences and bathing water quality. The first “tipping bucket” rain gauge was made in 1662 by Sir Christopher Wren but the first recorded attempt to measure rainfall was by Benedetto Castelli, Italian mathematician, astronomer, Benedictine monk and student of Galileo. He measured an eight hour fall at Perugia in Italy in 1639 but appears not to have kept any continuous records.

The rim diameter of a standard rain gauge is 12.7cm (5 inches) and the height of the mouth should be 30cm above ground level but anything between 15 and 50cm would result in very little error. The standard rain gauge is called a “Snowdon” pattern because it became approved after Captain Mathew used it for an extensive series of observations on the lower slopes of Snowdon in 1865. In fact the design was first employed by Col. M.F. Ward at Calne in 1862 having been made by a local chemist named Rowdon.

In the early 1970's John, David, Martin and Roy began measuring rainfall in Accrington and from 1992 Roy has done so at Sutton Crescent in Huncoat. In 2003 Jim joined the club taking readings in Oswaldtwistle and in 2005 David’s station moved to Oswaldtwistle. Mitchell's House Reservoir is 980 feet above sea level just south west of Great Hameldon and less than 2 miles away from Huncoat village. The "Huncoat Data" therefore all comes from within a small radius.

Most of the readings taken over the years at all the above sites compare quite well with each other so we can be pretty sure that we have an accurate picture of local rainfall patterns and extremes. Moreover, rainfall was recorded at Stonyhurst College (7 miles to the NW) for 100 years and that data also collaborates the Huncoat figures.

The 135 year average for Huncoat is nearly 50 inches (1,270 millimetres) per annum. Since 1875 there is no evidence that this has increased so it does not indicate that our climate is getting any wetter. The wettest ten year average was 53.39 inches (1,356 millimetres) between 1922 and 1931. The driest ten year average was 40.42 inches (1,027 millimetres) between 1892 and 1901.

Huncoat’s wettest years have been 1981 with 67.05 inches (1,703 millimetres) at Mitchell's House Reservoir, 2000 with 67.54 inches (1,716 millimetres) at Sutton Crescent and 2012 with 69.68 inches (1,771 millimetres) at Sutton Crescent.

Huncoat’s driest years have been 1887 with 28.62 inches (727 millimetres) at Burnley Road Reservoir, 1933 with 31.37 inches (797 millimetres) at Burnley Road Reservoir and 1995 with 33.66 inches (855 millimetres) at Sutton Crescent.

To see a full table of historic annual rainfall totals at Huncoat click here.

The wettest place in Britain is firmly established as Borrowdale in the Cumbrian Mountains. The average annual fall at the Stye on the front of Seathwaite Fell is 172.00 inches (4368 millimetres). The highest annual total ever was at the nearby Sprinkling Tarn with 257.00 inches (6,528 millimetres) in 1954.

By comparison Crib Goch mountain in Snowdonia, Wales also approaches 172 inches (4,368 millimetres) annual average but recording ceased in 2003 and the current rain gauge at Capel Curig only gets 104.41 inches (2,652 millimetres) annual average. The highest annual total in Wales was 237.00 inches (6,020 millimetres) in 1908 at Llyn Lydaw, Snowdonia.

Surprisingly, despite possible impressions to the contrary Scotland is not as wet as Cumbria or Snowdonia. The highest annual average in Scotland was 160.78 inches (4,083.8 millimetres) at Ben Nevis Observatory during the 19 years of operation from 1885 to 1903. The highest annual totals in Scotland have been 240.13 inches (6,099 millimetres) at Ben Nevis Observatory in 1898 and 213.00 inches (5,410 millimetres) at Loch Quoich Knoydart in 1938.

The wettest place in Northern Ireland seems to be Slieve Bearnagh in the Mountains of Mourne with an annual average of only 74.20 inches (1884.7 millimetres) and in Southern Ireland it’s the Ballaghbeena Gap in Macgillycuddys Reeks mountains, County Kerry with an annual average of around 100.00 inches (2,540 millimetres).

The legend of the Stye site in Borrowdale began in 1845 when Dr. J. Fletcher Miller of Whitehaven established the first rain gauge at nearby Seathwaite in the garden of Mr. John Dixon. Dr. Miller also placed rain gauges higher in the mountains because he suspected higher falls occurred there. This proved to be the case at the notorious location known as “The Stye,” a shelf on Black Waugh Crag which seemed to suffer converging rain bearing clouds coming over Styhead Pass. It may not be unrelated that the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike is a bare two miles away. Sadly, most of the mountain gauges except The Stye were abandoned in 1853 frequently proving inaccessible due to ice and snow and Miller died in 1856.

However, Mr Dixon continued to record at the Seathwaite site and measurements of rainfall there have continued unbroken to the present day. The 165 year average is 131.12 inches (3,330.5 millimetres). Until 1857 Mr. Dixon also managed to record the readings from The Stye but then there was a gap until Mr. Isaac Fletcher a relative of Dr. Miller tried to re-establish the mountain network in 1864 but after 1869 they were again neglected. Isaac Fletcher conducted careful experiments to compare the fall of rain in the Seathwaite gauge with that at the Stye. It was already clear by comparison of the records at each place that the mountain site was 25% wetter than the valley site. However, he also concluded that gauges emptied only monthly, as is the case with mountain stations, may lose up to 11˝% of their potential catch through evaporation, hail and snow. This could make the true annual mean fall at the Stye to be in the region of 210 inches (5,334 mm).

The mountain network was revived in 1877 by a Mr. Maitland of Hyde Park with the assistance of Mr. Wilson of Wasdale and since then the Stye site at least has continued with short interruptions until the present day. In 1929 after one of these short interruptions through lack of an observer the name was changed to Stye Head which is rather confusing with the more popularly known Sty Head pass and tarn being only a mile to the SW. Nevertheless, this is still the same location as established by Dr. Miller in 1845. It is at a height of 1,077 feet (328 metres) about 200 yards off the footpath to Styhead Tarn. There have been at least four gauge sites here all within a range of 200 yards, see the sepia coloured map click here.

The record breaking site of Sprinkling Tarn was located at a height of 1990 feet (607 metres) but closed in 1987. There have been higher rain gauges in the Cumbrian mountains but they did not record greater falls. Ullscarf just to the SW of Thirlmere was at a height of 2100 feet (640 metres) until it closed in 2005 but the annual average there was only 119 inches (3,022 millimetres). Birkside on Dollywaggon Pike near Helvellyn must be the highest rain gauge still in regular use. It is at 2096 feet (639 metres) and has an annual average of 119.5 inches (3,035 millimetres).

A strange contradiction was noted by the early observers. The wettest places in the Cumbrian mountains were at a height of between 1,000 to 1,500 feet, higher up on the summits appeared to be less wet. The Ben Nevis records however, indicated the greatest fall was on the summit not half way up and 76% more than on the loch side at Fort William.

Heavy rain and consequent flooding can occur virtually anywhere particularly if culverts or river courses have become blocked by fallen trees etc or the natural flood plain has become compromised by building development. The most serious flood events can follow intense localised thunderstorms or prolonged cyclonic rainfall over high ground draining into converging valleys. Some examples are -

On 9th July 1870 a disastrous thunderstorm passed over Accrington and fell with its full force upon Heald Moor and Flower Scar totally inundating the Calder valley between Burnley and Todmorden. The area most affected was around Portsmouth which was flooded. No rain gauge captured the fall but it was estimated from river flows to have exceeded 9 inches in two hours.

The small coastal town of Lynmouth became known throughout the world for the disaster that struck on 15th August 1952. After 9.00 inches (229 millimetres) fell upon the Chains; the western part of Exmoor, the East and West Lyn Rivers rose suddenly and swept large boulders and rocks through the village, destroying houses, roads and bridges.

Floods in Rising Bridge near Accrington on Saturday 10th September 1960 were caused by a breach in the dam of Cat Clough lodge at Stone Fold.

Terrific thunderstorms affected all the Accrington area on Wakes Week Saturday 18th July 1964. Over 3.00 inches of rain fell in 24 hours but most of it within the 8 hours 9am to 5pm causing the worst floods in living memory. A bakers shop at Rising Bridge collapsed into a culvert and two homes in Station Road Huncoat were flooded by a burst drain. Hyndburn Road and Grange Lane were badly flooded and many local mills were put out of action for several days. 3.10 inches were measured at Mitchell’s House Reservoir, 3.03 inches at Buttock near Pendle and 2.18 at Coppy Clough sewage works. The month’s total at Mitchell’s House was 6.81 inches. On 20th September 1968 a fall of 3.20 inches was measured at Oak Hill Park, 3.76 at Buttock and 4.00 at Holden near Helmshore but no serious floods resulted.

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The village of Wray near Hornby suffered a terrible flood on 8th August 1967. A thunderstorm put at least 3.00 inches down in a very short time on the catchment of the River Roeburn. Trees and rubble washed down in the torrent dammed up for a time and then broke through in a great rush carrying away cottages and bridges. The same thunderstorm seems to have caused 3.25 inches in two hours at Ogden and Buttock gauges on the slopes of Pendle. Similar deluges were recorded in the Trough of Bowland and Stocks Reservoir areas. The months total exceeded 16 inches in some of these places compared to 10.51 inches at Seathwaite Farm and 6.42 at Huncoat.

Frank Ibbetson of High Salter Farm walked the track of the storm the following day and found a great crater on Mallowdale Fell where the storm seemed to have stood still for a while. It may have been held in place by an uplift of warm air from the hot moorland creating this ground eroding cloudburst.

Before the Boscastle flood on 17th August 2004, 7.89 inches (200 millimetres) fell in 24 hours on the Cornish uplands.

Carlisle was submerged on 8th January 2005 because of 8.85 inches (225 millimetres) in 72 hours over the Shap Mountains and 4.53 inches (115 millimetres) in 24 hours at Keswick.

A very localised cloudburst affected Accrington, Oswaldtwistle and Clayton on Saturday 27th June 2009 when over one inch of rain fell within an hour. Town centre roads and properties were briefly flooded and drains became fountains. Bizarrely, nearby places like Huncoat and the Ribble Valley escaped the downpour! We have not had anything like this since 1968 (a return period of 41 years).

The Cockermouth disaster on the afternoon of 19 November 2009 followed 12.40 inches (314.4 millimetres) in 24 hours at Seathwaite in the Cumbrian mountains. The Rivers Derwent and Cocker swept through hundreds of homes and businesses in the town centre the water reaching depths of up to eight feet. Four bridges collapsed and twelve others damaged. The heavy rainfall was the main cause but rivers had been undredged for years and a relief archway at Gote Bridge (added after an earlier traumatic flood) was partially silted up when the floods struck.

The Calderdale Floods of Friday 22 June 2012 were caused by up to 2 inches (50mm) falling in 12 hours on to already saturated catchments and Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Mytholmroyd are in the rapid response Upper Calder catchment area.

The wettest days ever officially recorded in England were –
12.40 inches (314 millimetres) at Seathwaite in Cumbria on 19th November 2009.
11.00 inches (279 millimetres) at Martinstown in Dorset on 18th July 1955.
9.56 inches (243 millimetres) at Bruton, Somerset on 28th June 1917.
9.50 inches (241 millimetres) at Upwey, Dorset on 18th July 1955.
The wettest day in 2012 was 4.61 inches (117 millimetres) at Coniston on 23rd June.

The wettest days ever officially recorded in the Huncoat area were -
4.10 inches (104mm) at Jackhouse Reservoir on 20th September 1968.
3.31 inches (84mm) at Burnley Road Reservoir on 20th September 1968.
3.07 inches (78mm) at Mitchell's House Reservoir on 18th July 1964,
(which caused disastrous floods throughout Hyndburn during the local holidays).
2.88 inches (73mm) at Huncoat on 22nd June 2012.

Droughts

A shortage of rainfall leading to low reservoir levels is usually termed a drought. However, technically there are very precise definitions. An “Absolute Drought” is when there is a period of 15 consecutive days without measurable rainfall (less than 0.01 inches or 0.25 millimetres per day) although if there are 29 consecutive days where the average daily rainfall does not exceed 0.01 inches then that is a “Partial Drought.” If there are 15 consecutive days on each of which there is less than 0.04 inches or 1.0 millimetres then that is defined as a “Dry Spell.”

The longest local drought in living memory was an Absolute Drought of 33 days in February and March 1953. July and August of the same year also had a Dry spell of 17 days.
More recent droughts have been-
March and April 1974 – Dry spells of 22 and 19 days broken by 1 wet day
August 1976 - Absolute of 20 days
May and June 1977 - Absolute of 20 days
April and May 1995 - Absolute of 18 days
September 1996 – Dry spell of 16 days
May and June 1997 – Absolute of 15 days
March 2003 – Dry spell of 19 days
April 2003 - Absolute of 18 days
April 2007 – Dry spell of 21 days
April 2009 – Dry spell of 15 days
April 2010 – Absolute of 17 days
April/May 2011 – Dry spell of 23 days
March 2012 – Absolute of 15 days

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Summary of 1000 years of Britain's Climate
A special study by Roy Chetham completed in November 2003.

9th Century
A gradual warming by 1 degree with a slight increase in rainfall is presumed.

10th Century
The mean temperature rose by about 2 degrees with a continued slight increase in rainfall.

11th Century
The mean temperature rose by 3 degrees, annual rainfall accelerated but summer rainfall began to fall.

12th Century
The mean temperature rose by a further 3 degrees bringing heavy annual rainfall but very low summer rainfall. The end of the 12th Century seems to have been the warmest period in history when annual rainfall began to decline.

13th Century
The mean temperature began to wane. Annual rainfall fell at first but then crept up again by 1280. The 30 years leading up to 1280 had the driest summers in history. The end of the century saw a marked downturn in annual rainfall and an increase in summer rainfall. By 1300 mean temperature had gone down by 3 degrees.

14th Century
Mean temperature continued a steady decline reaching 4 degrees lower by 1400. Annual rainfall fell steadily but the summer proportion shot up and down dramatically peaking around 1380.

15th Century
Mean temperature continued to fall by another 3 degrees reaching the lowest for 700 years around 1480. Annual rainfall levelled out but summer rainfall fluctuated wildly bottoming at 89% around 1430 and peaking at 106% around 1480.

16th Century
Mean temperature rose by 3 degrees up to 1530 with an associated increase in annual rainfall and decrease in summer rainfall. The mean temperature then fell back by 5 degrees up to 1580 before levelling out. Annual rainfall fell to a new low in 1580 and the summer proportion shot up higher than ever.

17th Century
Mean temperature and annual rainfall were at first level but then fell by 2 degrees up to 1675. The period 1650 to 1675 was the coldest and driest in history. Summer rainfall went down and up and then down again! In the winter of 1683/84 the Thames froze over for 10 weeks.

18th Century
Mean temperature rose by around 5 degrees and annual rainfall increased between 1680 and 1720 then both declined gradually up to 1780. The end of the century saw the wettest summers in history. During the winter of 1739/40 the Thames froze in three days. In 1783 a small flood basalt eruption in Iceland altered the climate of the Northern hemisphere for several decades. The American ambassador in Paris (Benjamin Franklin) reported a year without a summer when no grapes or wheat ripened, snow fell during August and the following winter was the worst in living memory.

19th Century
Mean temperature was on the rise again as was annual rainfall. Summer rainfall declined quickly at first then levelled out from 1825.

20th Century
A gradual warming and slight increase in rainfall continued.

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The Weather of Hyndburn and Huncoat
An assessment by Roy Chetham in January 2014
Hyndburn’s position close to the centre of the UK keeps it sheltered from most extremes of heat, drought, cold, snow, frost, wind, storms and flood but being 30 miles inland on the western slopes of the Pennines means it receives quite high annual rainfall, records of which can be traced back to 1870.

The height of the local townships range from 200 feet where the River Hyndburn ends at Martholme up to 900 feet at Stone Fold, Rising Bridge. The highest point in the locality is Great Hameldon 1,342 feet (sometimes mis-spelt Hambledon) behind which is Hameldon Hill at 1,308 feet where the Met Office Rain Radar installation stands (white golf ball).

The 143 year average rainfall for Hyndburn is nearly 50 inches (1,270 millimetres) per annum.
The annual mean temperature is 9.2 degrees Celsius and the mean wind speed around 4 mph.

The wettest year on record was 2012 with 69.68 inches (1,771 millimetres) and the driest 1887 with 28.62 inches (727 millimetres). The wettest day ever recorded here was Friday 20th September 1968 when 4.10 inches were measured (104 millimetres). A drought of 15 consecutive days without rainfall occurs on average every three years the last one being in March 2012

The highest temperature recorded was 36 degrees Celsius on Thursday 1st July 1976 and the lowest minus 13 Celsius on Monday 12th January 1987. The average sunshine amount for the area is 1,134 hours per annum (equivalent of 3 hours per day). The sunniest month is May and the dullest December.

On average there are 35 days in each year with a ground frost, 27 with an air frost and 25 when snow falls. Thunder is heard on average 8 times a year and hail is seen 14 times. It is foggy on 11 days and completely sunless on 106 days. Rarely do wind gusts exceed 50mph.

There have been a few weather disasters over the years. On Saturday 9th July 1870 a disastrous thunderstorm passed over Accrington and fell with its full force upon Heald Moor and Flower Scar totally inundating the Calder valley between Burnley and Todmorden. The area most affected was around Portsmouth which was flooded. No rain gauge captured the fall but it was estimated from river flows to have exceeded 9 inches in two hours.

Floods in Rising Bridge on Saturday 10th September 1960 were caused by a breach in the dam of Cat Clough lodge near Stone Fold. The most memorable and widely publicised event was the Wakes Week Saturday thunderstorm of 18th July 1964 when many local mills were put out of action for days. Hyndburn Road and Grange Lane were badly flooded and a bakers shop in Rising Bridge collapsed into a culvert. Over 3 inches of rain fell in the 24 hours the bulk of which was during the eight hours 9am to 5pm.

More recently a very localised cloudburst affected Accrington, Oswaldtwistle and Clayton on Saturday 27th June 2009 when over one inch of rain fell within an hour. Town centre roads and properties were briefly flooded and drains became fountains. Bizarrely, nearby places like Huncoat and the Ribble Valley escaped the downpour!

By a remarkable coincidence Saturday seems to be the worst day for floods in Hyndburn!

Is our climate changing? Very slightly perhaps. In Hyndburn the 20th Century was 14% wetter than the 19th Century and so far the 21st Century has been 4% wetter than the 20th Century. Summers are not warmer but winters have been generally milder since 1988. However, as yet there is no definite indication that these trends are continuing.

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Huncoat Weather Station : Site Location
weather pic
  • Located in Huncoat near Accrington, Lancashire. UK.
    Post Code BB5 6XG, Lat 53-46-05 Long 2-20-26.

  • The station is 177 metres (580 feet) above sea level in the Pennine foothills with a substantial westerly exposure.

  • It is not an automatic weather station (AWS) but I take manual readings of temperatures, minimum and maximum, barometic pressure, rainfall and general weather observations several times a day.
weather pic
  • I have maintained records of rainfall, sunshine, temperature and notable weather events in the Accrington area since 1975.

  • My figures are regularly compared for accuracy and quality assurance with records from other local weather stations.

  • I am a member of COL, (Climatological Observers Link) which publishes a monthly bulletin of data from all over the UK.

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LINKS TO OTHER WEATHER STATIONS AND CLIMATOLOGICAL SITES
Please note that most of these are Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) using a Davis Vantage Pro 2 array of instruments or similar.
The rainfall amounts recorded by such installations are not to be 100% trusted unless they are regularly maintained, properly calibrated and checked against Met Office standard manual rain gauge measurements.
The links in this list were last checked in January 2014.
Near to Huncoat.
Accrington North, Lancashire
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.a-sojourn.me.uk/Weather/wx.htm
Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.buckl.co.uk/clmbl/index.htm
Loveclough in Rossendale Lancashire
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
www.lovecloughweatherlive.co.uk
Higham near Burnley, Lancashire
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
higham-weather.com/index.html
Nelson, Lancashire
Continuous rainfall monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.nw-walking.org.uk/weather.html
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Morecambe Bay and Cumbria.
Bolton-le-Sands near Lancaster
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.lancastrian-imaging.co.uk/sp/weather/Bolton_le_Sands_Weather/Welcome.html
Lorton near Cockermouth
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
www.lortonweather.co.uk
Drumburgh near Carlisle
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
www.coggabata.co.uk/weather.html
Brampton near Carlisle
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
www.bramptonweather.co.uk
Maulds Meaburn near Appleby
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
www.mauldsmeaburnweather.co.uk
Great Asby near Tebay
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.greatasby.co.uk
North Wales and Wrexham.
Wrexham
A reference point for nationwide climatic data.
http://www.soxlamps.com/weather.htm/
Llansadwrn in Anglesey
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
www.llansadwrn-wx.co.uk
Southern England.
West Chinnock near Yeovil
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=IENGLAND91&day=10&year=2014&month=1&graphspan=day
Windrush, Marlborough, Wiltshire
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.windrushweather.co.uk/station/daily-statistics/
Scotland.
Pitlochry in Scotland
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://pitlochryweather.blogspot.com/
Isle of Skye
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.isleofskyeweather.org.uk/
Hebrides
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
http://www.hebwx.co.uk/index.php
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Weather Forecasts.
Morecambe Bay weather forecast.
www.morecambe-weather.info
Lake District National Park weather forecast
www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/weatherline
Met Office weather forecast for Accrington
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/accrington-lancashire#?tab=map&map=SignificantWeather&fcTime=1360528973&zoom=8&lon=-2.37&lat=53.75
Networks.
Cumbria Weather Forum
A forum for exchange of weather information.
http://www.cumbriaweatherforum.co.uk/
COL (Climatatological Observers Link)
Founded in 1970 by a small group of amateur meteorologists it has now become the enthusiasts' weather observer network for the United Kingdom producing a detailed monthly bulletin.
http://1053545139.n82093.test.prositehosting.co.uk/
Climate.
Arctic Sea Ice Information
Read scientific analysis on Arctic sea ice conditions.
We provide an update during the first week of each month, or more frequently as conditions warrant.
http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
British Rainfall
The on-line depository of ancient British rainfall books.
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/archive/british-rainfall
Live Rainfall Radar
The latest rainfall radar analysis for northern England.
http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/cgi-app/radar?LANG=en&STRUCTUR=_&CREG=nor&CONT=ukuk&ZEIT=201107101215

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