UK weather statistics

The UK’s weather is notoriously bad, so we did some research to see how awful it really is.



Georgia-Rose Johnson
by , Shopping & Travel Publisher

Britain is well known for its less-than-ideal temperatures, which cause us to flee from the drizzle and travel far and wide just to get away. For some of us it can be quite a serious matter too, as heavy rain and flooding can affect our home insurance.

Unsurprisingly, discussing the weather is one of our nation’s most popular pastimes, with the average Brit spending around 4 months of their lives chatting or complaining about the weather. But in reality, is it actually as bad as we make it out to be? We pulled our socks up (and put on our rain boots) and did some research to give you a few interesting facts that you can use the next time you find yourself talking about the weather.

Quick stats

  • The most amount of rainfall ever recorded in 24 hours was 279mm on 18 July 1955 in Dorset.
  • The hottest temperature ever recorded in the UK was 38.7 degrees. This was captured on 25 July 2019 at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens.
  • In July 1911, the UK received 389.9 hours of sunshine, making it the month with the highest amount of sunshine ever recorded in the UK.
  • The coldest temperature ever recorded in the UK was -27.2 degrees. The UK reached this arctic temperature twice, with both times being in Scotland in 1982 and 1995.
  • The fastest wind gust speed ever recorded in the UK was 108 knots, or 124mph. This was captured on 12 January 1974 in Northern Ireland.
  • The snowiest winter ever was in 1947, when snow fell every day somewhere in the country from January to March.

Rain

The UK has quite the reputation for the amount of rain it receives, however, some years are worse than others. In 2018, two fifths (40%) of the year saw rain. The least wet month was June, with 5 rainy days over the 30-day month. Conversely, the month with the highest amount of rain was January, with 18 rainy days over the 31-day month, meaning 58% of the month was wet. The amount of rainfall each month in 2018 correlated with the number of rainy days.

When comparing 2018 to 2017, 2018 wasn’t as bad as the year before. There was a 10% decrease in the number of wet days in 2018 (147.4 days) compared to 2017 (164.2 days). The month with the biggest difference was June, which had 12.9 rainy days in 2017 and just 5 in 2018 (a decrease of 61.2%). In addition, 110.6mm of rain fell in June 2017, while just 35.4mm fell in June 2018 (a decrease of 67.8%).

Rain in 2018

Month 2017- Number of rain days in the UK 2018- Number of rain days in the UK 2017- Amount of rainfall (millimeters) 2018- Amount of rainfall (millimeters)
Jan 12.5 18 76.4 133.5
Feb 13.9 11.6 93.9 64.3
Mar 14.6 15.5 98.1 104.4
Apr 7.4 13.5 33.6 86.3
May 9.7 7.9 57.3 48.5
Jun 12.9 5 110.6 35.4
Jul 14.7 7.5 101.7 55.3
Aug 14.5 13.2 102.8 84.9
Sep 17.7 12.7 117.8 104.5
Oct 13.9 11.9 102.5 104.4
Nov 15.5 14.7 108.2 122.6
Dec 16.9 15.9 121.5 119.5
Total 164.2 147.4 1124.4 1063.6

Temperatures and sunshine

We all know that the UK doesn’t have the warmest weather, although this July (2019) was an absolute scorcher, with the highest temperature ever reached in Britain being recorded at 38.7 degrees. In the future, these hot temperatures may become more common; over the past 100 years or so there has been a 15.2% increase in the average annual temperature in the UK, a clear sign of the impact that climate change is having on Britain.

Year Average Annual Temperature (degrees Celcius)
1910 8.24
1911 8.98
1912 8.29
1913 8.71
1914 8.71
1915 7.83
1916 8.13
1917 7.56
1918 8.36
1919 7.45
1920 8.48
1921 9.27
1922 7.66
1923 7.99
1924 8.22
1925 8.15
1926 8.62
1927 8.1
1928 8.38
1929 8.01
1930 8.32
1931 8.01
1932 8.39
1933 8.86
1934 8.89
1935 8.55
1936 8.29
1937 8.37
1938 8.96
1939 8.6
1940 8.04
1941 8
1942 8.07
1943 8.93
1944 8.49
1945 9.18
1946 8.39
1947 8.42
1948 8.84
1949 9.38
1950 8.33
1951 8.15
1952 8.03
1953 8.95
1954 8.16
1955 8.27
1956 7.94
1957 8.87
1958 8.29
1959 9.27
1960 8.57
1961 8.74
1962 7.62
1963 7.45
1964 8.37
1965 7.79
1966 8.21
1967 8.49
1968 8.28
1969 8.14
1970 8.34
1971 8.78
1972 8.15
1973 8.5
1974 8.39
1975 8.82
1976 8.77
1977 8.28
1978 8.25
1979 7.62
1980 8.29
1981 8.15
1982 8.73
1983 8.9
1984 8.63
1985 7.83
1986 7.69
1987 8.05
1988 8.76
1989 9.28
1990 9.41
1991 8.58
1992 8.73
1993 8.35
1994 8.88
1995 9.17
1996 8.16
1997 9.4
1998 9.14
1999 9.36
2000 9.09
2001 8.84
2002 9.47
2003 9.5
2004 9.47
2005 9.45
2006 9.73
2007 9.59
2008 9.05
2009 9.17
2010 7.97
2011 9.64
2012 8.77
2013 8.77
2014 9.91
2015 9.21
2016 9.31
2017 9.56
2018 9.49

Snow

On average, the UK gets 23.7 days of snow each year, however, the snow only sticks for 15.6 of those days.

Now, let’s be honest, the child in all of us would like a bit more snow and definitely still dreams of a white Christmas. But what are the chances of this actually happening? If you’re in search of a snow-filled Christmas day but you don’t want to leave the UK then you should head to Lerwick in Scotland where there is a 75% chance of a white Christmas. As well as this, both Aberdeen (53%) and Glasgow (35%) also have a decent chance of a white Christmas. However, if Londoners are hoping for snow over the festive season, they may need to head elsewhere, as there is only a 6% chance of this happening.

Chances of a white Christmas

Location Probability of a white christmas
London 6%
Birmingham 15%
Aberporth 9%
Glasgow 35%
Aberdeen 53%
Belfast 22%
Lerwick 75%
Bradford 14%
St Mawgan 10%

Methodology

Met Office

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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