Review of 2020

  Very Wet and Mild - wet winter and summer, beautiful spring - overall very poor - wettest year ever recorded at Seathwaite.

  2020 will forever be remembered for the Covid-19 pandemic, but at least during the first Covid lockdown in March-April-May the weather was superb - just a shame that the rest of the year was hugely disappointing!

  Locally it has been anywhere from the wettest year on record (Seathwaite), second wettest (Newton Rigg) or as low as the fourth wettest (Appleby) and with over 125% of average rainfall would be classed as a 'Very Wet' year - as for temperature, it has been the equal third warmest in the Newton Rigg record back to 1900, although at some sites it would be the fourth or fifth warmest.

  Seathwaite Farm in the LDNP, where rainfall records commenced in 1845, created several notable and unwanted records this year: principally 2020 has been its wettest year on record!

  In such a long record it is quite amazing that its two wettest years are only separated by five years, the second wettest being 2015 which included 'Storm Desmond' - but when you consider the other records that it broke during 2020 it really isn't surprising that 2020 has been its wettest year: its wettest ever summer when all three months notched up at least 400mm - by some margin its wettest February (which saw 900 mm surpassed in any month for only the fourth time) - its second wettest winter which now stands alongside that of 2015-16 ('Desmond' - 2118.4 mm) to have broken the 2000 mm threshold (78.74 In.) and are the only two seasons to have done so.

  Whilst the majority of spring was dry, warm and notably sunny, the winter had been very mild and wet, culminating in a truly awful February which, with three named storms, had record breaking rainfall, saw Appleby-In-Westmorland under water once again and many without water for several days due to a mains water main being ruptured during 'Storm Ciara'. These two events were the most significant weather related impacts during the year.

  And then the drought followed in the spring! After a poor first half to March, the rest of the season was just glorious, being warm, dry and very sunny.

  The summer was very wet and just marginally warmer than average and with nothing that could be described as a warm spell, although it did have a one day hot spell (31st July) and was warm, but thundery during the 8-13th August.

  The autumn trundled along with nothing of note with a very mild November off-setting the cooler than average months that had preceded it. However, it was wet and by the end of October the rainfall total was already above the annual average and still with two months of the year to go.

  Overall, it has to be said that 2020 was not a good year!



  Locally all sites were warmer than average during 2020, ranging from +0.8°c at Keswick down to +0.2 at both Ambleside and Brampton and was typically in the range of +0.4 to 0.6°c.

  Yet again this has seen Keswick, for at least the seventh year in succession, once again being just that little bit more above average than everywhere else - this year just beating Spadeadam which was 0.75°c above average.

  With a mean temperature of 9.31°c (mean minimum of 5.34°c and mean maximum of 13.27°c) at Newton Rigg, 2020 becomes the 3rd warmest in a complete series back to 1957. That 9.3°c being 0.7°c above the 1981-2010 mean. The slight anomaly with Newton Rigg was that 2017 was colder than 2020, whereas at other sites 2017 was warmer and hence the reason for the slight discrepancy between 3rd/4th/5th warmest year.

  Generally across Cumbria in 2020, 9 months were warmer than average during the year, with just 3 finishing colder - the months with the largest deviation from the norm' being (using Newton Rigg, but very much replicated at Shap): January at 2.0°c warmer, November 1.9°c warmer and each of the following were all at least 1.0°c above average as well: February, April and June.

  At the Met' Office site at Shap 51 air frosts were recorded during 2020, its average being 74.5 and which had an annual mean temperature of 8.42°c (0.6°c above average).

  Cumbria maintained its wide spread of temperatures, the warmest and coldest sites having a margin of 2.0°c between them. This saw Spadeadam with a mean temperature of 8.1°c finishing exactly 2.0°c below that of Keswick.

  Here at Maulds Meaburn a mean temperature of 9.11°c (mean minimum of 5.25°c and maximum of 12.97°c) was 0.34°c above the average for my short period of records for (2009-2019), but which is very much in keeping with the picture throughout Cumbria.

  The highest and lowest temperatures recorded at a standard site during 2020 were: a maximum of 31.2°c (88.2°f - 12th August at Levens) and a minimum (excluding Great Dunn Fell) of -6.1°c (25th December at Shap and then also on 31st December at Ambleside).

  Here at Maulds Meaburn it was: 29.5°c (85.1°f) 31st July and -5.2°c (22.6°f) on the 25th December.


  A selection of monthly mean temperatures is shown below:


Local Temperatures



  Quite widely 2020 was the wettest year since 2015, but as already mentioned, the wettest on record at Seathwaite - across the county final totals fell within the range of 125-150% of average, making it a 'Very Wet' year, ie: one exceeding 125% of average.

  Seathwaite broke many records and it is somewhat hard to comprehend that its final total of 4991.8 mm (196.52 inch) equates to over half an inch of rain falling on every day of the year - and nearby at Honister the total was even higher!

  February was the stand out month for rainfall with many sites falling just short of 350% average rainfall, whilst in April Ambleside only had 6% of its average fall.

  At Newton Rigg the rainfall record commenced in 1900 (3yrs data is incomplete) and average rainfall for 1900-2019 was 929.0 mm. A final total of 1342.5 mm (141.7%) for 2020 makes it the 2nd wettest year in its records (to 1903) - whilst 1903 is the second wettest in the Appleby record, it is only the 13th wettest in the Seathwaite record.

  At Appleby In Westmorland 1192.5 mm (133.4%) made 2020 the fourth wettest in its record which commenced in June 1856.

  Because this is Cumbria it follows that the year will throw up a few surprises when it comes to rainfall, such as, in spite of there being three named storms during February, none of them provided the month's wettest day. At Honister 180.4 mm fell on the 19th, but then an even greater total fell in June during an event that was localised within the LDNP. This saw 212.8 mm (8.38 In.) fall at Honister on the 28th and which followed 113.2 mm on the 27th to provide a 48Hr total of 326.0 mm (12.83 In.), but fortunately after the dry spring levels in both rivers and lakes was very low at this time.


  A selection of local rainfall totals from various standard sites is shown below:


Local Rainfall Totals


   **‘Data kindly provided by the Hydrometry and Telemetry team of the Environment Agency (Penrith)’.

    Rainfall at Maulds Meaburn was 1582.1 mm (62.29 inch) with rain recorded on 226 days (10.6 above average) of which 186 were 'wet days' (days of 1.0 mm=>)(25.3 above average).

  This makes 2020 the second wettest (to 2015) in my thirteen complete years of records.

  An inch or more of rain falling within 24hrs was recorded on 8 days and the year's wettest day, 89.6 mm on the 8th February represents 5.66% of the annual total.


  'Droughts and Wet/Rain Spells' - during the year we had drought conditions through the spring and which saw a 39 day 'Partial Drought' from the 18th March through to 25th April during which just 7.3 mm of rain fell and which included a period of 'Absolute Drought' from the 6-25th April, 20 days when no measurable rain fell.

  Maulds Meaburn also recorded four 'Rain Spells', which included one each in October, November and December, but the most significant one being the 19 days of 14th February to 3rd March when 227.9 mm fell.

2020 Rainfall Anomalies %                                                                                    2020 Temp' Anomaly   



   The following is the monthly breakdown of the weather at Shap during 2020.


  OTHER - Maulds Meaburn data:

   • A Mean Minimum of 5.25°c - Mean Maximum of 12.97°c

   • During 2020 snow lay on the ground* on 3 days (9.2 below average) and was seen to fall on 22 (inc' sleet) with hail falling on 14 days.

   • Fog* was recorded on 3 days with thunder heard on 6 days (1.4 above average).

   • Mean cloud* cover was 82.3% with 137 days having a 100% cover* and 7 days being totally clear.

   • Mean air pressure* was 1012.3 Mb - Lowest pressure was 966.5 Mb (27th Dec') and the highest was 1047.2 Mb++ (19th Jan').

   • Mean wind speed* was 7.79 Mph - the highest gust = 60 Mph (16th Feb') - the windiest day with a mean speed of 25.6 Mph was the 16th Feb'.

   • Gales (a 10 min' mean wind speed of 39 Mph) were recorded on one day.

   • We had 36 air frosts (23.6 below average) - 121 ground frosts (3.8 above average) - with 40 days attaining 20°c+ (6.5 above average) of which 7 went on to attain 25°c (2.3 below average).

   • There was no 'Ice days' when the temperature remained below freezing all day.

   • The 30 cm soil temperature had a mean of 10.4°c with a low of 3.0°c (31st Dec') and a high of 18.7°c (14th Aug').

   • The 100 cm soil temperature had a mean of 10.2°c with a low of 5.6°c (7-8th March) and a high of 15.3°c (19th + 22nd Aug').

   • * Refers to 0900 GMT – the hour of observations.

   • ++ = a new record for this site.

   • Met' office data is still provisional for August onwards.

   • THANKS:- There are several people whom I would like to thank for their help, support and assistance over the past year: For the supplying of data: to Susan Sandelands and Martin Wilson of the hydrometry and Telemetry team at the Environment Agency (superbly efficient). And then to my deputy observers who stand in for me when required, Alison, Margaret, Alan and especially Sarah.


* 2020 TEMP'     9.11°c -- RAIN    1582.1 mm

* 2019 TEMP'     8.88°c -- RAIN    1231.0 mm

* 2018 TEMP'     8.99°c -- RAIN    1077.0 mm

* 2017 TEMP'     9.14°c -- RAIN    1096.7 mm

* 2016 TEMP'     8.89°c -- RAIN    1072.1 mm

* 2015 TEMP'     8.75°c -- RAIN    1663.8 mm

* 2014 TEMP'     9.58°c -- RAIN    1343.8 mm

* 2013 TEMP'     8.49°c -- RAIN    1232.1 mm

* 2012 TEMP'     8.26°c -- RAIN    1415.9 mm

* 2011 TEMP'     9.17°c -- RAIN    1305.4 mm

* 2010 TEMP'     7.42°c -- RAIN     702.9 mm

* 2009 TEMP'     8.86°c -- RAIN    1264.5 mm

* 2008 TEMP'     -- RAIN    1381.3 mm

2020 Rainfall Register for Maulds Meaburn  



JANUARY 2010    FEBRUARY 2010    MARCH 2010    APRIL 2010    MAY 2010    JUNE 2010    JULY 2010    AUGUST 2010    SEPTEMBER 2010    OCTOBER 2010    NOVEMBER 2010    DECEMBER 2010   

JANUARY 2011    FEBRUARY 2011    MARCH 2011    APRIL 2011    MAY 2011    JUNE 2011    JULY 2011    AUGUST 2011    SEPTEMBER 2011    OCTOBER 2011    NOVEMBER 2011    DECEMBER 2011   

JANUARY 2012    FEBRUARY 2012    MARCH 2012    APRIL 2012    MAY 2012    JUNE 2012    JULY 2012    AUGUST 2012    SEPTEMBER 2012    OCTOBER 2012    NOVEMBER 2012    DECEMBER 2012    SUMMER 2012    REVIEW OF 2012   

JANUARY 2013    FEBRUARY 2013    MARCH 2013    APRIL 2013    MAY 2013    JUNE 2013    JULY 2013    AUGUST 2013    SEPTEMBER 2013    OCTOBER 2013    NOVEMBER 2013    DECEMBER 2013    REVIEW OF 2013   

JANUARY 2014    FEBRUARY 2014    MARCH 2014    APRIL 2014    MAY 2014    JUNE 2014    JULY 2014    AUGUST 2014    SEPTEMBER 2014    OCTOBER 2014    NOVEMBER 2014    DECEMBER 2014    WINTER 2014    REVIEW OF 2014   

JANUARY 2015    FEBRUARY 2015    MARCH 2015    APRIL 2015    MAY 2015    JUNE 2015    JULY 2015    AUGUST 2015    SEPTEMBER 2015    OCTOBER 2015    NOVEMBER 2015    DECEMBER 2015    REVIEW OF 2015   

JANUARY 2016    FEBRUARY 2016    MARCH 2016    APRIL 2016    MAY 2016    JUNE 2016    JULY 2016    AUGUST 2016    SEPTEMBER 2016    OCTOBER 2016    NOVEMBER 2016    DECEMBER 2016    REVIEW OF 2016   

JANUARY 2017    FEBRUARY 2017    MARCH 2017    APRIL 2017    MAY 2017    JUNE 2017    JULY 2017    AUGUST 2017    SEPTEMBER 2017    OCTOBER 2017    NOVEMBER 2017    DECEMBER 2017    REVIEW OF 2017   

JANUARY 2018    FEBRUARY 2018    MARCH 2018    APRIL 2018    MAY 2018    JUNE 2018    JULY 2018    AUGUST 2018    SEPTEMBER 2018    OCTOBER 2018    NOVEMBER 2018    DECEMBER 2018    REVIEW OF 2018   

JANUARY 2019    FEBRUARY 2019    MARCH 2019    APRIL 2019    MAY 2019    JUNE 2019    JULY 2019    AUGUST 2019    SEPTEMBER 2019    OCTOBER 2019    NOVEMBER 2019    DECEMBER 2019    REVIEW OF 2019   

JANUARY 2020    FEBRUARY 2020    MARCH 2020    APRIL 2020    MAY 2020    JUNE 2020    JULY 2020    AUGUST 2020    SEPTEMBER 2020    OCTOBER 2020    NOVEMBER 2020    DECEMBER 2020   



The Oldest Inhabitant    An Inch Of Scotch Mist    But it's meant to be Summer (Summer 2017)  


   © Darren Rogers 2010-19

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