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Huncoat Weather Records
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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 -
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/gcw3f198q or
http://www.a-sojourn.me.uk/Weather/wx.htm or

Latest News

December 2017

A miserable month with low sunshine, many sunless days and many totally inclement days.
Temperatures were slightly above normal.

Met Office Outlook for January 2018

Cold and wet but milder after the third week.

Recent Monthly Reports

November 2017

Though average over all there were some notable aspects.
It was both wet and sunny with a cold snap in the last week.
Air pressure fluctuated on the high side until a very deep low on the 22nd.

Autumn 2017

In the three months September, October and November total rainfall was 509.5 mm (137% of normal).
Total sunshine was 164 hours (76% of normal).
Mean Maximum was 12.5 (+0.3).
Mean Minimum 7.5 (+0.3).
Monthly Mean 10.0 (+0.3).

October 2017

Very wet, very dull, very windy and very mild.
Nearly half the month’s rain fell in two days!
No air frosts and only one ground frost.

September 2017

Wet, windy and very dull.
The lowest amount of September sunshine for 33 years.
Temperatures lower than normal.

August 2017

Rainfall and sunshine were both slightly above average but temperatures were lower than normal.

July 2017

After a very wet first half conforming to the St Swithin's tradition
the total rainfall and sunshine for the month came out slightly above average.
Temperatures were a shade below normal.
A rather bland overall picture conceals the fact that there were some nice summery days.

Summer 2017

June, July and August temperatures taken together came out a shade below average.
Rainfall of 15.83 inches (402.1mm) was 145% of normal and sunshine of 416 hours was 103% of normal.

Despite lots of rain there was plenty of sunshine making it a good month overall.
Temperatures were a shade below normal.
Three major low pressure systems brought windy spells.

June 2017

Despite some hot days and some cool ones and a mini drought mid-month it came out very average for a British June.
The air pressure was very unsettled with 8 depressions 2 of which were deep.
Temperatures were very slightly above normal, rainfall excessive and sunshine low.

May 2017

Very dry with temperatures well above normal and above average sunshine.
The warmest May since 2008 and the highest May maximum since 1992.

Spring 2017

In the three months March, April & May total rainfall was 300.1 mm (125% of normal).
Total sunshine was 406 hours (120% of normal).
Mean Maximum was 13.1 (+1.6); highest since 2008.
Mean Minimum 6.3 (+1.5); highest since 2011.
Monthly Mean 9.7 (+1.5); highest since 2011.

April 2017

Very dry with temperatures and sunshine marginally above average.
A mixture of mild and cold spells.
19.2C on Saturday 8th was the highest April maximum for 6 years.

March 2017

Double the normal rainfall, our wettest March for 36 years.
In contrast the humidity on Sunday 26th was unusually low, well below 50%.
It was the mildest March for 5 years with temperatures far above normal.
A significant lack of both ground and air frosts.

February 2017

Dull and wet but very mild.
A significant lack of both ground and air frosts.
Storm Doris brought the lowest air pressure and highest winds for 12 months.

Winter 2016-17

For December, January and February the mean maximum was 7.3 (+2.3).
The mean minimum was 3.5 (+2.1) and the overall mean 5.4 (+2.2).
Rainfall was 252.5 mm (9.94 inches) only 70% of average. Sunshine was 140 hours, 97% of average.

January 2017

Dry and slightly sunny. On the mild side.

December 2016

The driest December since 2010, only 21% of last year’s floods.
The sunniest December since 2010.
It was milder than in November but colder than last year.
After a cool start the second week was very mild but then the rest of the month gradually got colder.
For the first two weeks there was a steady but gradually declining air pressure pattern
but after the 15th it became much more volatile with highs and lows.

November 2016

On the cold and wet side but only about half of last November’s deluge.
41% more sunshine than usual but not as sunny as 2010 or 2014.
The coldest November since 2010 with slightly more air and ground frosts than normal.
The first wintery weather was sleet on Tuesday night 8th (19 days earlier than the average).

October 2016

The sunniest and driest October on record (45 years).
The highest mean air pressure for 10 years.
Slightly above normal temperatures.
No air frosts or ground frosts.

September 2016

The second warmest September in 42 years of records.
The warmest September since 2006.
Only 62% of normal rainfall and 105% of normal sunshine.
Well over half the month had temperatures above the norm and only 2 days fell below.

August 2016

Daily temperatures were very erratic but overall averaged out at par.
45% wetter than normal and 18% down on sunshine.
The first half of the month had un-seasonally strong winds,
the mean speed for the month being 4.6mph which is very high for August.

Summer 2016

June, July and August taken together were average in temperature.
Rainfall of 13.84 inches (351.5mm) was 127% of normal and sunshine of 343 hours was 85% of normal.

July 2016

A below average July for temperature and sunshine despite one hot day.
Monday 18th reached 25.2, then Tuesday 19th 30.7 but then Wednesday 20th was only 23.4
Rainfall was 41% above the norm.

June 2016

The first week was dry and warm but then things went downhill
returning to normal temperature, rainfall and sunshine levels for the rest of the month.
The good weather in the first week contributed to the overall lower than average rainfall
and higher than average temperatures.

Spring 2016

The three months of March, April & May taken together were average in temperature.
Rainfall of 235.5mm was 98% of normal and sunshine of 409 hours was 121% of normal.

May 2016

Warm, dry and sunny, a better May than average.
The warmest for 8 years, driest for 6 years and sunniest for 11 years.

April 2016

A cold April with unseasonal sleet and snow late in the month.
Not unprecedented though, it was similar in 2008, 1998 and 1981.

March 2016

A March very close to normal despite two storms (Jake & Katie) bringing snows.
10 days mid month were rather kind with quiet anticyclonic conditions.
Easter was quite a mixture with 2 mild days and 2 fresh days.
Saturday had delayed rain and Sunday hail showers with thunder & lightning.

February 2016

A month of contrasts. Wet and mild but also sunny.

Winter 2015/16

The mean maximum was 8.1 (+3.1)
The mean minimum was 3.3 (+1.9)
The overall mean was 5.7 (+2.5) the third mildest on record.
Only 2006/07 and 1988/89 were milder.
It was by far and wide the wettest winter on record with a total of 26.97 inches (685mm) 190" of average.
There were 123 hours of sunshine, 85% of average.

January 2016

Mild, wet and sunless.
The dullest January in 44 years and the third wettest.

December 2015

Records smashed as Christmas rains cause floods.
More rain than even November which was already the wettest month in my records.
No white Christmas just misery for the thousands flooded!
Whalley and Padiham the worst affected locally as the River Calder burst its banks.
Christmas Day was the wettest 24 hour period I have ever recorded.
Added to which 3 other days exceeded 28 millimetres!!
It has now rained on 40 consecutive days.
It was the mildest December on record, a full 4.5 above average!!
Friday 18th was the mildest December day on record at 13.9

Autumn 2015

Marginally on the mild side with rainfall and sunshine both slightly above average.

November 2015

The wettest month of any year in records beginning in 1972.
More than double the rainfall of a normal November.
Saturday night into Sunday morning (14th & 15th) saw ex-hurricane Kate bring 56.5mm of rainfall to Huncoat.
2.22 inches in 48 hours, the wettest day this year.
Seathwaite in Borrowdale recorded 274mm in the 24 hours (10.79 inches).
Monday night into Tuesday morning (9th & 10th) was the warmest November night on record!
It was the mildest November since 2011 and the dullest since 1997.
Very few air frosts or ground frosts.
The first wintery weather was sleet on Friday 20th (7 days earlier than the average).

2016 Annual Summary

Another mild year accentuating the climate change trend.
It was the fourth warmest year in the last ten.
Mean temperatures have been rising for three decades.
This is entirely due to milder winters and not warmer summers!
Rainfall and sunshine were both close to normal giving no indications of climate change.
Only two days exceeded 25.4mm (one inch) of rainfall, the least in a year since 1995.

Late Spring and Early Autumn ground frosts

Huncoat averages 35 ground frosts per year.
In 2014 there were only 18 ground frosts and in 2015 there were 22 compared to
37 in 2013 and 42 in 2012 which were cold years.
The most was 68 in 2010 and the least 12 in 1990.

Out of 41 Springs-

The last frosts have occurred 25 times in April, 8 in March, 6 in May and one each in February and June.
The average date for the latest Spring ground frost is 14th 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.
In 2014 the last Spring ground frost was on 18th April.
In 2015 the last Spring ground frost was on 27th April.

Out of 42 Autumns-

The first frosts have occurred 20 times in October, 19 times in November, twice in December and once in September.
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.
In 2014 the first Autumn ground frost was on 2nd October.
In 2015 the first Autumn ground frost was on 21st November.

Latest News on Arctic Sea Ice

WINTER 2017-18

Arctic sea ice extent for December 2017 averaged 11.75 million square kilometres the second lowest in the 1979 to 2017 satellite record. Ice cover was below average in both the far northern Atlantic and the Bering Sea, and notably high temperatures prevailed over most of the Arctic, especially over Central Alaska.

The ten lowest maximums in the satellite record of Arctic sea ice have occurred in the last ten years.

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


Rainfall.......at Huncoat (in inches)
*40 years from 1973Wettest year - 2012 = 69.68 ins. Driest year - 1995 = 33.66 ins.
Wettest ever month - Dec 2015 = 12.90 ins. Driest ever month - Apr 1980 = 0.11 ins.
For a full table of historic annual rainfall totals at Huncoat click here.


Sunshine.......at Huncoat (in hours)
*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.

Mean Temperature.....at Huncoat (in celsius)
Accuracy of instruments used verified by calibrated Tinytag Logger in November 2015.
30 year average1.
30 year average5.
Monthly MeanJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
30 year average3.

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.

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 places in Britain are firmly established as the Cumbrian and Snowdonian mountains. Here the annual average rainfall is around 200 inches (5,080 millimetres).

Taken over 30 years up to 2010 the average annual fall at Crib Goch in Snowdonia was 182.5 inches (4,635 millimetres). Over the same period the average annual fall at the Stye on the front of Seathwaite Fell in Borrowdale, Cumbria was virtually the same.
But taken over the 11 years 2015-16 the average annual fall at Crib Goch was 204 inches (5,182 millimetres).
The highest amounts ever in just one year were 257.00 inches (6,528 millimetres) in 1954 at Sprinkling Tarn on Seathwaite Fell, Cumbria and 243.5 inches (6,185 millimetres) in 2015 at Crib Goch, 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 11½% 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).

The two highest sites for rain gauges with recent reports are Crib Goch at 2,339 feet (713 metres) and Birkside on Dollywaggon Pike near Helvellyn at 2,096 feet (639 metres).

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.


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 December floods of 2015 were particularly widespread.
Carlisle, Cockermouth, Keswick, Glenridding, Whalley, Croston and York all suffered severely, some on two or three occasions.
Named storms Eva and then Frank battered the British Isles with gales and prodigious rainfall.
This after storm Desmond had deposited 13.4 inches (341mm) in 24 hours at Honister on 5th and 6th December.

The wettest days ever officially recorded in England were –
13.40 inches (341 millimetres) at Honister in Cumbria on 5th December 2015.
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 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.
3.13 inches (79.6mm) at Huncoat on Christmas Day 2015.
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.


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

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 year 1258 was a year of heavy rains and no summer when crops failed causing a great famine in which many thousands of people perished. This may have been connected to the eruption in 1257 of Samalas volcano on Lombok Island in Indonesia. This is believed to have been the largest volcanic eruption within the last 10,000 years. Such was its size that sulphurous gases would have formed a stratospheric aerosol veil or dry fog that blocked out sunlight, altered atmospheric circulation patterns and cooled the Earth's surface.
The mean temperature was already on the wane. Annual rainfall fell before 1257 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.

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 where the rain bearing clouds get stuck 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). The wettest day this century was Christmas Day 2015 when 3.13 inches fell (79.6 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!

Huncoat didn't escape in November and December 2015 when a succession of named storms battered Britain causing widespread flooding.
Both months broke all previous records with 11.55 inches (293.6mm) and 12.90 inches (327.9mm) respectively.
7 days each had in excess of an inch with Christmas Day the worst at 3.13 inches (79.6mm).

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.


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.


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 November 2017
and removed if the target website was out of date or defective.
Near to Huncoat.
Accrington North, Lancashire
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives but not always up to date.
Stonyhurst in the Ribble Valley
Live graphs and tables of current temperature, dewpoint and rainfall.
Loveclough in Rossendale Lancashire
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Rishton near Blackburn, Lancashire
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Greater Manchester.
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive history.
Drumburgh near Carlisle
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Brampton near Carlisle
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Maulds Meaburn near Appleby
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Great Asby near Tebay
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Ulverston, South Lakes
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Llansadwrn in Anglesey
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Windrush, Marlborough, Wiltshire
Continuous weather monitoring and comprehensive archives.
Weather Forecasts.
Morecambe Bay weather forecast.
Lake District National Park weather forecast
Met Office weather forecast for Accrington
Cumbria Weather Forum
A forum for exchange of weather information.
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.
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.
British Rainfall
The on-line depository of ancient British rainfall books.
Live Rainfall Radar
The latest rainfall radar analysis for northern England.

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