Winter 2018-19 had been on the relatively mild side up to January largely down to a very mild December (though not as mild as December 2015) and the season was to deliver quite a taste of Spring to the UK for the final month, February 2019. February was an exceptionally mild month with numerous all-time records set.

Temperature

For such a mild month that February 2019 was, it actually started off quite cold with some of the coldest conditions seen in the UK since February 2012 or December 2010 in terms of minimum temperatures though not quite matching the severity in terms of low daytime maxima seen during the “Beast from the East” event in late February and early March 2018. The air minimum temperature of -15.4°C at Braemar, Aberdeenshire on the 1st was the lowest temperature for February and any month in the UK since 2012 when -15.6°C was recorded at Holbeach, Lincolnshire on 11 February 2012.

Cold conditions at the very beginning of February 2019 were soon replaced by milder temperatures by the 4th and it became more and more mild gradually over time with the exception of a cooler interlude around the 10th. A continued feed of southerly winds in the second half of February resulted in some exceptional high temperatures for so early in the year and there was multiple all-time February temperature records set.

The UK mean temperature for February 2019 was 6.0°C which is +2.4°C above the 1981-2010 average indicating that February was overall a very mild or even warm month. It was the second mildest February on record for the UK in a series back to 1910 beaten by only February 1998 at 6.8°C. Mean maximum temperatures were particularly high with some places having mean max. as much as +4.0°C above average. February 2019 recorded the highest mean maximum temperatures on record for the UK back to 1910 with a mean max of 10.0°C beating the previous record of 9.8°C back in February 1998. February 2019 failed to beat February 1998 on being the overall mildest on record for the UK, in spite of record high mean maximum temperatures, because of the fact that mean minimum temperatures were much lower in February 2019 compared to February 1998.

In terms of the Central England Temperature (CET) series back to 1659, the region had a mean temperature of 6.7°C in February 2019 which was just below that of December 2018 at a CET of 6.9°C, and it was the mildest February since 2002 (which had a CET of 7.0°C). However, for mean CET maximum (which has monthly records back to 1878), February 2019 broke records much like it did for the UK series back to 1910. The CET maximum for February 2019 was 11.3°C beating the previous record of 10.7°C in February 1998.

If all the above wasn’t remarkable enough, Scotland, England and Wales all recorded their highest February maximum temperatures on record of all-time during the final week of the month (see table below).

Data source: UK Met Office.

Trawgoed, Ceredigion recorded a maximum temperature of 20.6°C on 25th February 2019 which bet the 1998 record (as did two other stations on the same day) before more stations broke this new but very temporary record on the following day, 26th February 2019 as shown in the table. The 25th February 2019 record bet it the earliest 20°C recording of all-time in the UK beating the previous earliest on 2nd March 1977. There was an observation of at least 18.0°C somewhere in the UK on every day from 21 to 28 February 2019 with the exception of the 23rd. These were not the only records beaten either. Achnagart in Scotland recorded an air minimum of 13.9°C on 23th February 2019 which became a new February high minimum temperature record, not only for Scotland but the whole of the UK, beating 13.7°C at Aboyne on 13th February 1998.

A truly remarkable month February 2019 was for temperature!

UK mean temperature anomaly map (against 1981-2010 averages) for February 2019. Credit: UK Met Office.

Rainfall

The first half of February tended to be on the unsettled side with a westerly flow dominating but for most of the period from Valentine’s Day onwards, conditions turned more settled as high pressure approached from the south though there was outbreaks of fairly heavy rain in the north and west on the 19th.

It was the UK’s driest February since 2012 with 82% of the average rainfall during February 2019. Western regions tended to record close to average rainfall whilst eastern regions were drier.

UK rainfall anomaly map (against 1981-2010 averages) for February 2019.
Credit: UK Met Office. 

Sunshine

February 2019 was not only remarkable for temperature, it was also exceptional in terms of sunshine. It was the UK’s second sunniest February on record in a series back to 1929 with a sunshine total of 100.6 hrs beaten only by February 2008 with 102.8 hrs. This follows another very sunny February in 2018 which was the previous second sunniest on record for the UK with a total of 95.6 hrs of sunshine.

For England, February 2019 was the sunniest on record with a sunshine total of 121.1 hrs beating the previous record of 119.6 hrs in February 2008.

Only north and northwestern parts of Scotland had below average sunshine during February 2019 where it was the dullest since February 2012.

UK sunshine anomaly map (against 1981-2010 averages) for February 2019.
Credit: UK Met Office.

Featured photography

To conclude this analysis, I would like to share the following photography from February 2019 given by the credited people. Thank you for capturing these great pictures and sending them into us.

Conclusion

What a phenomenal month February 2019 was with its record breaking temperatures! What did you think of February 2019? Did you like it? Did you dislike it? Why not let us know your opinion on the month in the comments? See you there!

Sean Bruen is a forecaster for Metcast (and Snow Watch). His main interests are historical and long range weather. He LOVES snow (his Twitter account is @SnowbieWx, go figure!) and his favourite season is Winter.

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