February 2019

(all temperatures in degrees Celsius; all averages 1961 – 1990)

Mean daily maximum: 10.1
Difference from average: +2.9

Mean daily minimum: 2.9
Difference from average: +2.6

Mean air temperature: 6.5
Difference from average: +2.4

Absolute maximum: 16.6 (26th)

Absolute minimum: -6.3 (3rd)

Mean grass minimum: 0.7

Absolute grass minimum: -6.2 (3rd)

Mean concrete minimum: 1.4

Absolute concrete minimum: -2.8 (1st)

Number of ground frosts: 12

Number of air frosts: 4

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 5.1

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 5.9

(all totals in millimetres; all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 30.4
Difference from average: -11.5

Percentage of the average: 73

Wettest day: 7.6 (7th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 11

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 8

3-month total rainfall to 28th February: 86.0
Difference from average: -86.0

6-month rainfall total to 28th February: 245.8
Difference from average: -100.4

12-month rainfall total to 28th February: 567.2
Difference from average: -81.8

(averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 79%

(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 118 hours
Difference from average: +38.1

Percentage of the average: 148%

Mean daily sunshine: 4.2 hours
Difference from average: +1.4

Sunniest day: 8.7 hours (25th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 2

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 192.5 hours
Difference from average: +52.2


Average wind speed: 5.3kph

Maximum gust: 75.6kph (9th)


Comments on February 2019
This was the sunniest February at Durham since records began in 1882 and the 2nd warmest February since records began 1850, beaten only by 1998 and 1945. After a very dry January, February was also drier than normal, but not exceptionally so, ranking only 69th lowest in 170 years. Given the very dry January, this was the 15th driest onset to a calendar year (January + February rainfall) since 1850, the lowest such total since 1964. Interestingly, ten of the fifteen lowest J+F totals occurred more than one hundred years ago.

Unlike many places in the country, 26th February 2019 was not the warmest February day on record at Durham. This accolade falls to 28th February 2012 – 17.4°C. 26th February this year was “only” the 4th equal warmest February day on record (17.4°C), in a list of 4801 February days. Still, this compares very favourably with 28th February last year, when the maximum was a chilly -2.1°C! The coldest February day on record at Durham is 16th February 1855 when the temperature reached no higher than -4.3°C.

Winter was the equal 6th warmest, beaten only by 1998, 1999, 2007, 2014 and 2016 – notably, all within the last two decades. It was the equal 20th driest winter since 1850. Most notably, it was the third sunniest winter at Durham, only exceeded in 2000 and 2015.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University