Raindrops keep falling

EVENING Star weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on one of the wettest Februarys for more than 100 years, interrupted by a brief spell of cold weather with snow.

EVENING Star weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on one of the wettest Februarys for more than 100 years, interrupted by a brief spell of cold weather with snow.

FEBRUARY was one of the wettest for over 100 years, in many parts of the region,

Rainfall was more than twice the average and it was also abnormally mild with temperatures exceeding the daytime average of 44F(7C) on 22 days.

February is often one of the driest months of the year in Suffolk and since 1840 only seven have seen rainfall exceeding a total of three and a half inches.

The wettest months were in 1866 with 4.70 inches of rain and 1916 with 3.86 inches.

The year 2001 was the exception and February rainfall then amounted to 3.90 inches.

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Last month began with spring-like weather and the mercury soared to 55F(13C) on February 1 - a temperature more typical of late April.

A large and slow-moving anticyclone was positioned over the British Isles and there was widespread fog on the morning of February 4.

High pressure near Iceland steered a plunge of cold Arctic air into East Anglia the following day and there was the most severe air frost of the winter with air temperatures down to 19F(minus 8C).

Snow began to fall on February 8 and most places reported accumulations of about two inches.

Rising temperatures soon brought about a thaw and the snow-cover quickly disappeared.

The brief spell of wintry weather was over and the rest of the month saw an unsettled and mild pattern with fronts from the Atlantic bringing belts of rain across all areas.

Heaviest of the rainfalls was on February 20 when nearly three quarters of an inch was measured at Ipswich.

Total amounts of rain ranged from 3.52 inches at Ipswich to 3.29 inches at Belstead Hall. Colchester reported 3.14 inches and Wattisham Airfield 3.06 in.

The sun gave only occasional appearances in February and there was a notable lack of brightness. Most places registered only 55 hours - a deficit of 22 hours for the late winter month.

Yet another winter has passed without a prolonged spell of cold weather in East Anglia.

Met Office figures show that Britain has enjoyed the warmest 12 months since records began more than 300 years ago. Much of the Continent has reported similar weather and in Germany it has been the mildest winter for at least 100 years.

Maximum daytime average………………… ………….44F

Minimum night average 34F

Average number of air frosts 12

Average number of ground frosts 18

Rainfall (1903 to 2006) 1.55 inches

Average number of days with rain 13

Average duration of rain 33 hours

Month's sunshine 76 hours

Maximum possible daily sunshine 9.8 hours

Midday sun altitude (Feb 15) 25 degrees

Barometric pressure (reduced to mean sea level) 1016 millibars

North Sea temperature (10 miles out) 42F

Highest recorded daytime temperature 63 F on Feb 13 1998

Highest recorded wind speed (gust) 81 mph on Feb 26 1990