RBO Meteorological Page

Let's face it folks, now it's it's really gonna rain!

Although being born an Englishman automatically qualifies one as an honorary meteorologist - we tend as a nation to greet our friends, neighbours and indeed, complete strangers, with our opinions of the current weather situation - no modern English weather-man has summed up the British climate in a single sentence better than the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, who in AD94 wrote:

'The sky is overcast with continual rain and cloud, but the cold is not severe.'
(Cornelius Tacitus, Agricola, 12.3.)

David Bowen has been collecting weather statistics over a number of years as a professional meteorologist for the Royal Navy. He recognised that certain trends in weather patterns occur at the same time every year. He published the following table from his compiled data, which shows the most likely weather sequences to be expected in Britain during any particular twelve month period.

Guide to the British Weather

January 1-8 Unsettled, gales. Rather cold NW winds.
9-14 Increasing frost risk; sometimes with E wind.
15-21 Milder, changeable, rain; gales in N and W.
22-31 Unsettled, frequent rainfall; cold snap later.
February 1-7 Stormy but becoming milder, with sunny periods.
8-20 Coldest part of the winter, but with sunny periods.
21-end Mild, wet, stormy; SW winds.
March 1-5 Windy. Colder, with night frosts and snow in N.
6-17 Dry days frequent, also cold nights with frost.
18-24 Sunny spells in S and W; less settled in N.
25-31 NW winds bring sunny spells and showers.
April 1-8 Variable day temperatures. Nights getting colder.
9-14 A cold period, with snow at times in N and W.
15-23 Milder, changeable; sometimes a wet spell.
24-30 Sunny periods at first. Stormy and colder later.
May 1-8 Showers and sunny periods; some cold nights.
9-14 Short cold snap; N wind; showery.
15-21 Milder, with SW winds and sunny periods.
22-31 Often a warm, settled spell.
June 1-8 Variable temperatures; some thunderstorms.
9-16 Continuing thunder risk, but often very warm.
17-23 Changeable, cooler, but sunny spells.
24-30 Warm but often thundery, unsettled.
July 1-7 Individual hot days. Thundery periods.
8-21 Variable. Seldom settled for long. Stormy in N.
22-28 Some hot days. Thundery in S and E.
29-31 Mainly wet, with SW winds.
August 1-6 Close, wet, with thundery spells.
7-14 Some hot days, but occasional heavy rainstorms.
15-21 Changeable, cooler; often long sunny period.
22-31 Cool. Increasingly changeable.
September 1-5 Warm, with sunny periods.
6-17 Changeable, but with alternate sunny days.
18-23 A short settled period most years.
24-30 Wet, with increasing gale risk.
October 1-7 Stormy, cold, but short sunny periods.
8-18 Mainly mild by day. Sunny spells. Sporadic rain.
19-31 Stormy, especially end of month; becoming cooler.
November 1-15 Mild, with SW winds and some rainy spells.
16-24 Colder, with E wind risk and night frost.
25-30 Milder spells again; increased rain risk/gales.
December 1-8 Cold snap with snow on a few days; wet later.
9-16 Milder. But with some snow over high ground.
17-23 Very mixed. Some mild days in S.
24-27 Often sunny. The warmest part of the month.
28-31 Much colder, with gales. N wind brings snow.

The above table is reproduced verbatim from an article in Country Walking Magazine (April 1999, page 41); 'Beat The Weather', by David Bowen, a former naval meteorologist and weather forecaster, also the author of a number of books on the weather. I was impressed when I read his article and have noted that since publication, his forecasts have been remarkably accurate. See for yourself! Togodumnus - The RBO WebMaster

Britain's Weather: Its Workings, Lore and Forecasting by David Bowen (David & Charles, 1969)
Weather Lore for Gardeners: A Guide to the Accurate Prediction of Local Weather Conditions by David Bowen (Thorsons, 1978)

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The Meteorological Office

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