Looking back on 2007's weather

Evening Star weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back at 2007, a year with an abnormally mild January, a record-breaking April and a dismal summer that saw only three hot days and a substantial loss of sunshine.

Evening Star weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back at 2007, a year with an abnormally mild January, a record-breaking April and a dismal summer that saw only three hot days and a substantial loss of sunshine.

THE year opened with the warmest January for nearly 90 years. At Wattisham Airfield it was the warmest since records began and the month ranked with the other exceptionally mild Januarys in 1834, 1916 and 1921.

On January 18 warm air from the sub-tropical Atlantic raised temperatures to 56F(13C) - a level more typical of mid-April.

On the same day the region was battered by a vicious south west to westerly gale with top gusts of 72 mph. It was the worst gale to strike the region since March 2004.

In contrast February was one of the wettest for more than 100 years in parts of Suffolk. There was a spring-like start to the month but an anticyclone developing near Iceland delivered a plunge of cold arctic air to all areas and night temperatures sank to 19F(minus 8C).

Snow reached East Anglia on February 8, giving depths of two inches, but rising temperatures caused the snow to quickly disappear.

Most Read

March was a warm month and the sun beamed down for 180 hours.

As early as March 12 temperatures had soared to 66F(19C) - a reading normally reached in mid-June.

Much colder weather arrived on March 19 and there was a dramatic fall in temperature as an arctic airflow encroached from the north and snow fell on two days.

One of the outstanding features of the weather in 2007 was the magnificent April that went into the records as the warmest for more than 300 years. High pressure dominated the weather for nearly the whole of the month and brought abnormally dry and sunny conditions thoughout the region. Lowestoft recorded 226 hours of sunshine.

May is normally the sunniest month of the year in Suffolk but in 2007 it was the wettest on record and the dullest since 1932.

After a Bank Holiday deluge the total rain for the month reached nearly five inches and extensive cloud layers reduced the sunshine to a mere 129 hours or 83 hours below the long-term average for the month.

Bitterns breeding on the RSPB's nature reserves on the Suffolk coast had their nests washed away by torrential rainfall. At Lowestoft the sun was shining for only 157 hours.

So began one of the most disappointing summers on record and

flaming June was nothing more than a damp squib.

The jetstream - a ribbon of high speed winds aloft that control the movement of surface depressions - was displaced well south of its normal position. This meant that a sequence of low pressure systems were steered almost directly across the British Isles bringing unsettled weather for most of the summer.

Another major feature of the 2007 summer was the abnormal absence of hot days. There were only three during the entire year and the hottest day was August 4 with a top reading of 81F(27C).

From May 1 to July 31 more than 11 inches of rain was registered or the equivalent to almost half a year's rainfall in three months.

July was marked by a lack of sunshine and at Wattisham Airfield the total was only 159 hours and along the coast, plagued by low cloud, the total at Lowestoft was down to 130 hours.

August was an unsettled month with the distinction of seeing the only time in meteorological history when the sun failed to make any appearance for six consecutive days in the major holiday month.

September saw the end of the miserable summer as high pressure to the west of Ireland took control of the weather. This anticyclone produced sunny and warm days with temperatures climbing to 74F(23C) in the first week. Little or no rain fell until September 19 when south westerly winds from the near-Atlantic finally took over.

The final part of the month was dominated by a strong north easterly blast

which, coupled with high tides, produced 30-feet-high waves at Felixstowe and water flowed into the seafront gardens.

It was a dry September and in the east of Suffolk less than half an inch of rain was recorded.

Anticyclones again dominated the weather in October and many days were dry with a predominance of light winds. Despite an Atlantic front depositing over an inch of rain in eight hours on October 9 the total rainfall for the month was below average.

November, notorious for its gales, was a month notable for the frequency of light winds. On some days it was flat calm at the coast but sunshine was restricted by the extensive sheets of stratocumulus cloud that dominated the weather.

The unsettled pattern of weather continued into December with depressions bringing cloud and some rain. The second week saw anticyclones take over and the chief feature of the weather charts was a blocking high pressure system anchored near Denmark. This halted the flow of depressions from the west and gave some high barometric pressure readings on December 13 when most of the region recorded 1040 millibars.

Several days were sunny and calm but cold air from the near Continent eventually arrived in East Anglia bringing daytime temperatures down to 40F(4C).

Those who dreamed of a white Christmas were disappointed for the 37th consecutive year. December 25 was a day of incessant rain followed by welcome sunshine on Boxing Day. The month ended with a spell of blustery winds from the south west but again the month's rainfall was well below average.

THE YEAR AT THE STAR WEATHER STATION

Hottest day August 4 max temperature 81F(27C)

Coldest day February 8 Max temperature 35F(2C)

Wettest month May with 4.92 inches

Wettest day May 28 with 2.08 inches

Number of days with rain 138

Driest month April with 0.02 of an inch

Highest wind velocity 72 mph on January 18

Longest dry spell March 31 to April 23

Number of cloudless days 15

Number of days with snow 5