The British weather in November

"No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds."


Averages for November (for Central England)


Overall average

6.0

Average maximum

9.5

Average minimum

3.6

Average highest maximum

14.4

Average lowest minimum

-4.7

Average rainfall

62

November for me means: the last few dry brown leaves falling to the ground; the first sharp frosts of the year; heavy rainfalls, and perpetual fog. I particularly associate November with with dense, unrelenting fog. Bonfire night should be clear and cold with a freezing fog developing. Snowfall obviously becomes more common in November; there is an average snow cover of one day every year in the north, but just every third year in the south. There was little snow in November between 1930 and 1970; the snowiest decades of the last century were the 1910s and 1970s. On average, November is the wettest month of the year (just beating October and December); this is due to an abundance of mobile westerly systems. The England and Wales 1981-2010 average is 105 mm). Very wet days are unusual, and are associated with slow-moving fronts. (The wettest days of the year are usually in summer, and associated with thunderstorms.) Over much of eastern England November is on average clearly the wettest month of the year (and the four of the wettest five months on record have been in November). November has seen only three very months (<12 mm average) over the last 300 years: 1788, 1805, and 1945. Compare this with 25 very dry Aprils.

On the whole, November is getting warmer (particularly from 1930 on) and sunnier, particularly since 1950 in the cities, as a result of the improvement in air quality and reduction of smoke, although climatic change does seem to be involved as well. In some places there is now twice as much sun in November as there was a century ago. London has seen an increase from 30 hours on average to 74. Indeed, I remember many dense fogs in the south in the 60s.

I am indebted to Philup Eden, in his "The weather week" column in The Sunday Telegraph, from which I quite the following, for reminding me of this poem (from which I quoted this month's opening epigram( about November gloom in nineteenth century London (although I think it applies perfectly to Scotland in December, too):

No sun, no moon, no morn, no noon,

No dawn, no dusk, no proper time of day;

No sky, no earthly view, no distance looking blue,

No road, no street, no t'other side the way...

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

November!

The period 6-13th November is Buchan's sixth cold spell. Supposedly it is warmer than average around the 11th. St Martin, you will of course remember, gave half of his cloak to a beggar on a bitterly cold night. Supposedly, the late autumn storms continue until the 13th, with a peak at the end. There is then an anticyclonic, foggy spell from the the 15th-21st; more often than chance predicts it is warm and sunny by day - a statistically reliable trend, called "St Martin's Little Summer". This is followed by another stormy spell with a peak on the 25th.

The saying that if November ice will support a duck, there will be nothing after but sludge and muck (i.e. a mild winter) has no statistical basis.


Extremes for November in the 20th century

Highest November average overall = 10.1 (1994)

Lowest November average overall = 2.8 (1915)

Highest maximum = 21.7 (Prestatyn, 4th, 1946)

Lowest minimum = -23.3 (Braemar, 14th, 1919)


Some extreme weather events in November in the twentieth century

1901 Cold, with frequent fog and frost. On the 16th the temperature at Loughborough rose from a minimum of -8C to a maximum of only -3, and from -6 to -2 at Brixton.

1903 Mild and generally dry.

1904 The month began mild, wet, and windy. A depression crossed the north on the 8th bringing several hours rain to the north: Ambleside had 142 mm of rain. After a quiet spell midmonth came a memorable cold snap from the 20th to the end of the month. There were some notable snowfalls at the end of the month, from the 20-23rd; 22 cm lay at Keswick on the 22nd. 14cms at Wakefield, the most severe November snowstorm there for 15 years. 3cm settled at St Pancras in London on the 23rd. Even Liskeard had 18 cm. Two old yew trees were blown down in Buckland churchyard in Dover in a blizzard. But most of the heavy snow was across southern Scotland and northern England, with the highest depth of 46 cm. The temperature fell to -11 at Nairn on the 22nd and at Nottingham on the 24th; the maximum at Oxford on the 26th was only -2C. The lowest temperature was probably -14.4C (6F) recorded at Appleby, Westmoreland; this is the lowest November minimum of the twentieth century in England. The River Wye froze at Ross on the 28th. There was some dense fog.

1906 Mild. The temperature reached 19C at Strathpeffer in Easter Ross late in the month. (A more dubious 20C was recorded at Lairg.)

1907 Mild, wet and sunny.

1908 Mild and dry.

1909 Dry and bright but cool; it was the driest month of the year.

1910 Very cold (3.2C CET). Some flooding in the north on 17th following heavy rain.

1911 Wet and unsettled. There as a severe gale on the night of the 4-5th, with gusts of 70 mph reported from Blackpool. The gale coincided with a high tide, causing flooding in the Clyde. Many trees were blown over in Scotland. More than 50 mm of rain fell in the Western Hiahglands, and 93 mm at Seathwaite (Cumbria).

1912 Very dull. Just 9 hours sunshine in Manchester, 11 in Birmingham and Glasgow, and 12 in London: these were the days of the smog. Very wet in Western Scotland.

1913 Warm (8.4C CET). The first half of the month was very thundery. It as sunnier than average too; dry in the east but wet elsewhere, and very wet in the NW and Wales.

1914 Very wet and generally mild, but with a cold spell midmonth.

1915 The coldest of the twentieth century (2.8C) in the CET series, and the second coldest in Scotland. It was the coldest month of the winter. Mainly quiet and northerly, but with a snowy spell midmonth. Pressure reached 1044 mbars over southern England on the 21st. The 27th was a cold day, with a maximum of only -2C in Leamington.

1917 One of the three occasions this century when November has been warmer than the preceding October.

1918 Armistice Day, the 11th, was quiet, dry, mild (14C) and quite sunny except in the far south where it was misty start. Generally a cold, dry and sunny month but with fog and mist at the start and end of the month.

1919 A very cold month (3.3C CET), with frequent north-easterlies. A severe gale off Kent right at the beginning of the month (1st and 2nd.). Parts of the southeast had no sun at all in the first ten days. The first ten days were generally cold with some night frosts, with easterly winds. It was however the cold spell midmonth, with heavy snowfalls and sharp frosts, that was particularly noticeable. This was an extraordinary cold snap that would rank as one of the major winter events of the century; that it had happened in mid-November makes it even more extraordinary. The cold spell really set in on the 11th as the winds gturned to the north. There were snow showers in eastern Scotland from 8th to 10th, but lat e on the 11th it snowed heavily across Scotland, leading to many villages being cut off. There was a foot of snow on Dartmoor, 17" at Balmoral, and 8" at Edinburgh. A record low minimum of -23.3C was set at Braemar on the 14th, and -21.7C at Perth (hurrah!). This was the lowest reading of the year, and is the earliest date on which such a low temperature has occurred. It was also down to -21.1C at West Linton and Balmoral on the 14th; the maximum on the 14th at Balmoral was only -10,and -12C on the 15th. The next night, the temperature fell to -2 -22.8 on the morning of the 15th. Snow lay at Braemar to a depth of 42 cm; it lay from the 11th until the end of the month. The lowest maximum on the 14th in England was -2.7C near Carlisle, and the lowest minimum in England in this cold spell was -12.8C at Scaleby (also Cumberland) on the 16th. A snowstorm on the night of the 11/12th gave heavy falls across the country - e.g. 12 inches on Dartmoor. There was a record low November temperature for Northern Ireland (up to then) of -12.2 (10F) on the morning of the 15th. This cold spell would have been exceptional in the depth of winter, yet alone in autumn. For this reason I rate this as the most interesting November of the century. The month generally turned milder at the end, although snow cover persisted at Braemar and Balmoral through the month into early December.

1920 Fine, dry, and anticyclonic, with fog.

1921 Cold and dry after a stormy start. Some snow midmonth. Sunny days with some frosty nights. It was anticyclonic midmonth. There was persistent dense fog over much of England from the 19-21st and in London 27-28th. There were severe delays to all kinds of transports, and many accidents.

1922 On the whole a quiet month with much fog. Unsetlled for the first ten days but with no heavy rain. Dry afterwards, many places recording no rain between the 11th and 25th. Dense fog in London on the 20th and London on the 21st. Only 7.5 mm of rain fell at Kelso in the Borders all month.

1923 Very cold (3.3C CET), and often windy and unsettled. There were some snow showers and sharp frosts early in the month. -8C was recorded in the west on the 8th.

1925 Cold (3.6C CET) but sunny. Smog in Glasow. The month started mild and unsettled, but then turned much colder with cold northerlies. There was 15 cm lying snow in parts of the east from the 28-30th.

1926 A very wet month. After a cold, snowy October the temperature fell to -12.8C at Balmoral and Braemar on the morning of the 1st.

1927 19C recorded in Wakefield on the 2nd; similar hight temperatures at Tynemouth and Geldeston (Norfolk)

1928 The month started quietly with easterly winds. There were notable gales on the 16th, 23rd, and 25th, which caused some structural damage.

1929 The wettest of the century for England and Wales; a reported 227mm at Ross-on-Wye, and the record corroborated daily rainfall for the month of 211.1mm was set at Lluest West Reservoir, Rhondda, on the 11th - that's 211 mm in one day! This led to severe flooding in Glamorgan. It was particularly wet in the SW: most of Devon and Cornwall had over 250 mm, while Princetown on Dartmoor and 747 mm.

1930 Sunny but wet; cold in Scotland.

1931 A mild, wet, dull month. There was severe flooding in Carmethen on the 4th.

1932 A dull month; only 26 hours recorded at Kew all month. The other heavy snowfall this year affected Scotland on the 23-25th; Braemar had 15 cms of snow lying on the 24th.

1933 Rather unsettled, with frequent showers and drizzle. There was a maximum of 19C at Arbroath on the 6th. There was persistent fog in the north on the 26th; there was a maximum of -3C at Renfrew. At the same time, with NE winds, there were wintry showers in the SE.

1934 Unsettled first half then becoming dull and dry. There was thick fog widespread around the 20th. Visibility was down to ten yards in Norfolk, and seven in the Lake District, and apparently down to six yards in North London and Kent.

1935 Unsettled and wet.

1936 A dull month. There were notable smogs in Manchester and Birmingham. Between 19th and 28th there was almost continos thick fog at Manchester, with visibility under 200m, and under 5m at times on the 28th. Everything became coated with a thick, wet, slime of soot. There was a prolonged fog in Birmingham from 21-26th. However, a sunshine recorder 24m above ground level recorded 3.8 hours of sunshine.

1937 Dry and foggy. There were widespread fogs on 21 days this month. Mansfield (Notts.) recorded fog on 19 mornings.

1938 A very warm month (9.4C CET); until recently, the warmest of the century. Temperatures exceeded 21C in many places across Kent and East Anglia on the 5th, due to a combination of sunshine and a very warm SW airflow originating south of the Azores. 21.1C at London, Chelmsford, and Cambridge mark the record highest November temperatures for England. 20C was reported as far north as Doncaster and as far west as Colwyn Bay. This is one of two November days this century that exceeded 70F (see also 1946); this is the later of the two. In Scotland it was the second wettest of the century. It was extremely wet in Glasgow. There was a notable storm on the 23rd: severe gales in the south, and a gust of 109 mph at Pembroke. The 25th was the wettest day of the year in London, where 40 mm of rain fell at Wimbledon.

1939 Another very warm month (8.7C CET) - bettered only by 1994 and, incredibly, 1938. It was one of the three occasions this century when November has been warmer than the preceding October. It was also a wet month.

1940 Second wettest month this century, with an England and Wales average of 197 mm, and fourth wettest in the long-running weather rainfall records. It must have made the Blitz even more miserable

1941 Dull and mild.

1942 Very dry.

1943 A dry month.

1944 Dull, wet and stormy across the country. There was a total of 113mm of rain on the 13th in Snowdonia. A very wet month in Edinburgh.

1945 The driest November on record, but still with an average of 17 mm of rain across England and Wales. Only 3 mm fell in Central London, and along the Lancashire coast (e.g. Fleetwood) there was no rain at all during the whole month. Many places had no rain at all from the 4th to 25th (an absolute drought). Even Scotland was relatively dry, with only 28mm of rain, as was Northern Ireland. The Central Lowlands, Moray Firth, SE, Midlands, abd NW England all recorded less than 7 mm of rain. It was mostly a quiet month, and quite warm at times. With a month of anticyclonic gloom, Droitwich (Worcs.) saw only 11 hours of sunshine in the entire month. It was 19C at Penrhos (North Wales) on the 1st in a very mild first week.

1946 A changeable first half. Very warm air from the southeast, originating from Africa, plus the Fohn effect led to high temperatures on the 4th, including 21.7C at Prestatyn in Flintshire (the November record high), 21.1C at Hawarden Bridge (Chester) and 20.6C at Edinburgh (Scotland's record high for November). It even reached 20C at Nairn and 19.4C at Achnashellach (Wester Ross); temperatures above 18C were widespread. It then became slightly cooler. The second half of the month was often wet and stormy, but mild at times, particularly in the south. No air frost was recorded all month.

1947 The sunniest November on record across much of SE Scotland and NE England - Durham saw 120 hours of sunshine. The first half was largely mild but changeable. There were some severe frosts and mild spells. There were some notable temperature variations as a warm front passed through midmonth: -17.2C at Dalwhinnie on the 19th, but +18C at Harwarden (Clywyd) on the 21st; also, the maximum at Leeming (Yorks.) was only 3C on the 19th, but it was 18C on the 20th. The Royal Wedding day was dull and drizzly but mild (15th).

1948 Dry and mild, and foggy at times. There were a few short unsettled spells. There was a maximum of only 2C at Leeming in fog on the 23rd. The month saw the start of nearly 5 days continous fog in London, from the 26th. The duration of 4 days 18 hours is the equal record for low altitude, along with December 1952. Deaths from bronchitis more than doubled in the week that followed. The fog was particularly dense on the 27th. There was massive disruption to transport in London.

1949 Unsettled month working out to be average rain, sun, and temperature.

1950 A very wet month, with 114 of rain at Kew and 229 mm (9") at Penzance.

1951 Extremely wet: the wettest November in Scotland this century, where there were frequent daily falls of over 25 mm. The England and Wales rainfall average was 181 mm. Some areas in the South and Midlands (e.g. around Birmingham and Salisbury) received over three times their expected totals. After a fairly dry first part of the autumn, very wet weather set in on the 4th, with a slow moving front, SE winds, and 24 hours of heavy rain: 75 mm across the south, west, Wales, and the north, and 125 mm in parts of Scotland (including Perthshire and Aberdeenshire). There was flooding of the Ouse and Severn flood plains, particularly in York. The flood levels peaked in the north on the 10th and in Gloucester on the 12th; as they started to subside, there was more rain. The south and SE were particularly hard-hit, with flooding from Sussex to Buckinghamshire to Somerset. 382 mm of rain were recorded in the Lake District between the 14th and 20th. Also very mild.

1952 Wetter than average in the south and east, but drier than average in the north and west. The month had a very cold second half with snow and some severe frosts; very cold overall. Although it started mild, with a temperature of 17C at Totnes, Devon on the 1st, it soon became cold. The first bad weather of the month came on the 6th as a rapidly deepening depression moved quickly SE off eastern Britain - presaging the great disaster of three months later. On the night of November 6, there was a widespread severe NW gale which caused considerable damage. There were gusts of 97 mph at Bidston, near Liverpool, 85 mph at Fleetwood and 75 mph at Felixstowe and Birmingham. The morning minimum was -11C at Dyce, Aberdeen on the 25th with a maximum of only -5C later there that day, and Eskdalemuir on the 29th; there was a maximum of just -4C at Glasgow that day. Heavy snowfalls across four days led to a cover of 15cm on lowland and 30 cm in some places with higher ground across the Midlands as a depression moved east along the Channel. Some snow landed in north London. The Chilterns were impassable. A train got stuck in 3m drifts in the Welsh valleys. In the cold snap, -12C was recorded at Kielder, and -15C at Dalwhinnie. It was probably the snowiest November in England since 1919. It was a sunny month in the NW.

1953 A warm month (8.5C CET). It was dry in the SE (with less than an inch of rain in Essex, Suffolk, and the West Midlands), but wet in SW Scotland. There were strong winds and rain on the 1st.

1954 A wet month, with more twice the average rain in the southwest. There were a series of violent gales from 26-30th, with loss of life and shipping. The South Goodwin lightship was overturned. Brawdy (Gwynedd) recorded a gust of 100 kn..

1955 Generally dry. Severe thunderstorm on the 6th at Whittlesford (Cambs.) with 4cm damaging hailstones.

1956 Very dry.

1957 A wet and windy start. There was a notable gale on the 3-4th. The depresion that caused it had a central pressure of 962 mbars. It arrived at Devon around midnight and tracked NE. 46 mm of rain at Tilbury. 13 mm of rain in 7 minutes at Dudley, leading to widespread flooding on the Midlands. It fell as snow on the Pennines. The gale was at its most severe across the SE during the early hours. Many houses in a new housing estate at Hatfield (Herts.) lost their rooves. Gust of 103.6 mph at West Raynham (Norfolk) during the night, and 92 mph at Dover. Then storm caused a great deal of structural damage. Aother deep depression brought more gales and rain on the 5th. After this stormy start, it became quiet and anticyclonic everywhere. It was a dry month everywhere, particularly in southern Scotland and Lancashire.

1958 Dry and dull with some fog. Anticyclonic final fortnight. Less than a quarter of the average rainfall was recorded in some places.

1959 About average temperatures overall. Mostly unsettled and wet, although on the 12th there was persistent fog, with some very low temperatures in eastern England (with day time temperatures beneath freezing).

1960 The very wet autumn continued with a wet November. 175 mm widespread across the country; 624 mm in Snowdonia. It was very dry in the NW of Scotland again, however. As is often the case with very wet months, it was a relatively sunny month.

1961 Slightly cooler than normal; dry, and quite sunny. The month had an unsettled beginning. 18C was recorded in Exeter on the 1st, but there were snow flurries in the southeast on the 4th. Fog at night became a problem from the 5th until the 9th. It was then very wet in the south around the 10th. The first half of the month was quite cold, with mostly NE winds until midmonth. After a settled spell there was more rain.

1962 Some snow and frost provided a taste of the winter ahead. It was eventually cold, dull, and quite dry after a wild, wet start. Hailstones 5 cm in diameter fell at Culrose on the 2nd. A northerly outbreak began on the 12th, with heavy snow showers on the 19th. Snow fell as far south as Yorkshire. It became anticylonic soon after.

1963 Quite mild, and very wet.

1964 A little warmer and drier than average. It was particularly fine and dry in the east, particularly the SE. It was the driest November at Kew since 1938.

1965 The month was one of the snowiest on record with some notable cold spells. Strong winds caused the collapse of five out of the eight cooling towers of Ferrybridge Power Station (Doncaster) on the 1st, when gusts of 85 mph interacted with the design of the power station. The cold air moved in on the 13th. There was some heavy snowfall, laying for for 10 days in Lincs. There was heavy snow on Dartmoor on the 14th. -14C was recorded at Braemar early on the 15th; freezing fog on the 15th at Ross-on-Wye, with a maximum of -2C. It was windy on the 16th as an intense depression approached. Blizzards in Wales and the north. Less cold for a while, but more cold weather returned on the 21st. There was snow in the east on the 22nd, with a hard frost. There was heavy snow in the borders on the 25th, with seven foot deep drifts in the Lake District. more gales and rain in on the 27th. The worst weather came on the 29th, with severe gales and heavy snow, and a pressure of only 962mbars at Humberside. Snow lay in east Scotland from the 13th to the end of the month, and was nearly 2' deep in Durham.

1966 Generally cold. It was briefly warm in the SE around the 7th, when 17C was reached at Southend. Around the 17th there was a meteor storm, corresponding to a peak in the Leonids cycle.

1967 Relatively dry; a quiet spell in mid-month brought hard frost and a touch of snow to many areas. Generally cool and sunny. It was disturbed at first, then quiet and mild at times, but with some notable geographic variations: 17C in the southeast on the 11th. More unsettled in the last week. The maximum at Carlisle on the 26th was only -2C

1968 About average temperatures overall.

1969 Fairly sunny, but very unsettled, and quite cool overall. 21C recorded at Totnes on the 3rd. 100 mm of rain fell in Country Antrim on the 21st. There was a severe cold snap at the end, with heavy snowfalls and strong northerly winds.

1970 Mild in the south, wet and stormy in the north. A gust of 115 mph was recorded on Fair Isle on the 14th. Extremely wet overall; one of the wettest on record.

1971 Fog on the 30th contributed to 50 car pile-up on the M1 near Luton, leaving seven people dead. A very northerly month.

1972 A month with average temperatures overall.

1973 Dry and sunny, yet oddly unsettled at the same time. 147 mm of rain fell at Blaneau Ffestiniog on the 9th. A north wind led to a very cold end to the month, with freezing fog, snow showers, and severe frost. There was a minimum of -15C at Carnwarth (Lanarkshire) on the 29th.

1974 Wet and often stormy, particularly in the second and final weeks. A gust of 92 mph was recorded on Tiree on the 11th. There was a pressure reading of only 960 mbars in Northern Ireland on the 14th.

1975 About average temperatures.

1976 There was a severe gale on the 29th (with a gust of 115mph at The Needles). Near average temperatures overall.

1977 Mild and unsettled first half; often stormy. NW gale on the 11-12th: there was a gust of 83 mph at Fleetwood. Serious flooding of the Fylde peninsula on the 11-12th as a result of the storm surge. It reached 19C in Hereford on the 19th. There was a notable smog in Glasgow. The second half of the month was much colder, with northerly winds and some snow.

1978 Very warm until a northerly outbreak on the 24th. Although it was mild and dry in the south, it was wet and often stormy in the north. There was a gust of 115 mph at Fair Isle on the 14th. 1978 was the last time we saw a November providing less than 50 mm of rain.

1979 Mild and unsettled for the first ten days, but then colder midmonth with some snow and severe frosts. It was -12C at West Linton in the Borders early on the 14th. There was a striking purple glow at sunset on the 26th visible over much of the southeast and east as a result of a dust cloud originating in the Sahara carried north by southerly winds. In Spain and France the dust gave some very red sunsets, but in the south and east of England it interacted with two layers of cloud (altocumulus and a fragmented, thin, lower stratus level) to give a brilliant and weird purple colour. It later rain led to substantial dustfalls on the 29th.

1980 The month started fine and warm, with 14C at Cape Wrath in northern Scotland at the start of the month. Cold continental air pushed east on the 2-3rd; the cold front between the cold and warm air masses gave some very heavy rain in places. It was very cold in the south by the 5th, with maxima close to freezing on the 5th and 6th. There was a notable very early snowfall in the Channel Islands: on the 6th the maximum in Jersey was only 1C, with a cold east wind; that morning there was 6 cm of snow cover on the island. Snow fell extensively in the southeast on the 6th and 7th: this is a noticeable early fall. The second week was less cold, but with some sharp frosts and freezing fog in the southwest; -7 at Bodmin Moor on the 11th. Very mild midmonth, with minima above 10C. More snow showers on northerlies near the end of the month as it turned cold again. Birmingham recorded 1046.5 mbars on the 30th, the highest reading in Britain for 16 years. With light winds there were some severe frosts.

1981 Mostly mild and very wet in the north. An outbreak of small tornadoes on the 23rd: about 105 touched down over 5.25 hours (the largest number recorded in Britain in one day), as a pronounced cold front moved southeast across the country.

1982 Unsettled, wet, and often stormy. Mild in the south. It was 19C in Kent on the 1st. Generally a southwesterly month, but with some snow around the 14th.

1983 Quite mild.

1984 Mild and wet. It was very wet in Aberdeen. There were frequent southerly winds during the month. It reached 19C in London on the 1st and 2nd. There was notable dusty rain on the 9-10th even reached Scotland. Notable damaging storm in Westport region of Ireland on the night of the 21st led to structural damage and power cuts.

1985 Cold (4.1C CET) and wintry. There were a few mild days early on, with Guernsey seeing 18C on the 8th. There was a severe frost in the southeast on the 14th (-8C). Snow in the south on the 18th. The 19th was a cold day, with temperatures close to freezing in easterly winds. 2-5 cm of snow were laying in Kent and east Sussex by the 20th. Even Jersey had a cover of 12 cm of snow on the 20th. It was then less cold, then very wintry in Scotland at the end of the month, and a particularly cold spell from the 27th to 29th. Snow showers moved north: 12 cm on Shetland by the 27th. The 27th was a very cold day, with temperatures beneath freezing all day in Lincolnshire with snow. There was a minimum of -14C across central Scotland on the 28th/29th, with a maximum the following day of only -8. -20.9 at Kinbrace in the Highlands on the 30th. The month ended with very mild air spreading north during the evening of the 30th, where the temperature got up to 14C in the southwest. This was month saw the second lowest November temperatures of the century (after 1919), and was the coldest November since 1919. Altogether snow fell on five days in London, and 19 days in the more vulnerable parts of Scotland.

1986 Mild and unsettled. Severe flooding in south Wales.

1987 Dry and cloudy, with a cold snap from the 20th.

1988 Anticyclonic, with much fog and frost. Cold and dry. There was a substantial snowfall on the 20th; Dover was cut off following six inches of snow; 5 cm more generally across Kent. I remembering waking to a respectable (and surprising) covering of snow in Leamington; we'd just moved in to our new house, so it was one of the most notable weather events of the year. All the locals were amazed at the snow. It was a very sunny month in central Scotland, and the sunniest November on record until 2005, with 89 hours average sunshine. This was the last very dry November.

1989 Cool, sunny, and dry. Fog and severe frosts at the end of the month, following a change to very anticyclonic weather on the 11th. Nevertheless, the sunniest November on record for much of southern England. Folkestone made 147 hours, the national record.

1990 Dry, and very sunny in the south and west.

1991 A changeable, cyclonic month that was dull and wet in the west and north. A deep depression on the 12th brought severe gales, heavy rain, thunderstorms, and even some snow to the country; a tornado was reported near Newmarket. That's the sort of day we like.

1992 A very wet month. Mild. Floods in Wales on the 30th, following 250mm of rain in 96 hours from the 29th. November was nearly as warm as October.

1993 A cold month (4.6C CET) overall, with snow and some low temperatures from the 20-22nd. It was the fifth consecutive month beneath average in the south. On the other hand, it was dry and sunny in the north. However, it started very mild: 18C in Southampton on the 4th. Notable gale on the 14th. Particularly cold in the second half of the month. Substantial snowfalls in the southeast, with 10 cm of snow lying in East Anglia and Kent on the 22nd. Snow cover lasted for four days in parts of north London. There was freezing fog on the 28th: high of -8C at Braemar with a minimum of -15C.

1994 The warmest November ever recorded (10.1), by some way. 19.1C in London on the 3rd. Very dry in the second half, but dull in the south.

1995 Generally a very mild, sunny, and wet month except in the southeast. 18C was recorded at Falmouth on the 13th; then the temperature was close to freezing all day along the south coast on the 19th. Heavy rain in the Exeter area gave 100 mm between the 10th and 13th, and then on the 14-15th, leading to flooding around Edinburgh and Tyneside.

1996 Overall, generally cold, wet and very sunny. There was a very mild spell on the weekend of the 2-3rd; it reached 19C in London on the 3rd. It was overcast though, as very mild days in late autumn and winter often are. Very windy in Scotland on the 6th. It was wet in the south around the 10th. There were some sharp frosts midmonth across the north: -11C at Carlisle early on the 18th, and then -12c was recorded at Altnaharra on the morning of the 19th, with a maximum of only -1C at Glenlivet during the day. There was snowfall across the Midlands and south on the 19th, with gales, and a pressure of only 960 mbars. The snow was particularly heavy over Staffs., Cheshire, Merseyside, and north Wales, with several centimetres drifting before the snow later turned back to rain. There was of course as ever in Britain when there's snow traffic disruption. Buxton was cut off. There was thundery snow sleet and snow showers around the Firth of Forth. Gales brought trees down in the south. Some places in Scotland stayed beneath freezing from the 19th-23rd, with 20 cms of snow on the hills. There was more snow on the 24th. Bognor Regis saw 117 hours of sunshine.

1997 Warm, generally wet, and rather dull, particularly in the north and west. The fourth warmest November of the century. There was a notable late warm spell from the 15-18th. Aultbea in the Highlands reached 18.8C on the 16th; then Aber (near Bangor) reached 20.7C on the 17th (the maximum actually occurring at 7 pm, nearly three hours after sunset). This is the highest temperature so late in the year for 90 years, thanks to the Fohn effect, with SE winds and cloudy skies. Kinloss reached 17.9; the minimum was then 13.6C. Flooding in Sussex on the 10th and in Aberdeenshire in the last ten days. Severe flooding in St Austell on the 26-27. Very wet around Aberdeen (246 mm; over three times the monthly average): 39 mm fell in the 30 hours ending at 6 am on the 28th.

1998 November across Britain was a pretty average month. Rainfall was average. The flooding in the west country at the start of the month soon subsided. On the whole, the east was cold, but the west warmer than average. The highest temperature of the month was 17C at Prestatyn and Madley (Herefordshire) on the 9th; the coldest, -11 on the 18th at Aviemore. Temperatures also varied across the month, but with the third week being particularly cold. The second half of the month was quite dry, particularly in the east. It was however a very sunny month (but not as sunny as 1996).

1999 Generally changeable, windy, slightly warmer than average, and sunny. Quite dry, particularly in the southeast: the driest since 1988. A very high pressure reading: 1046.7 mbars at Aviemore on Tuesday 9th (a new record for November, just slightly more than the 1980 Birmingham reading). The highest temperature reading of the month came right at the start, with 17.8 at Gravesend on the 1st. Sunny, particularly in the south. There was a fine display of nacreous cloud over much of Scotland on the afternoon of the 30th. I first saw if from Tesco's car park in Dundee; it was staggering - yet so many people just ignored it.

2000 Extremely wet - the wettest since 1970, with England & Wales average of 174 mm. Severe and widespread flooding - reputedly the worst since 1947 - as a succession of intense lows cross the country, with many areas badly hit. Very sunny in places - one of the sunniest on record in Eastern Scotland (97 hours at Leuchars), but dull in the west. A very warm end, with 17C in Torquay and 16.5 in London. Overall, slighly warmer than average (7.0 CET, +0.6).

2001 Mainly dry and mild, especially in the SE. The driest since 1990. Mainly anticyclonic and sunny until the 24th; dull and wet last week. The average pressure was the highest in the last 50 years. There was heavy rain in the SE on the 6th and 7th, with 35 mm at Hampstead. There was then an early Arctic snap, with snow in the north on the 8th, and as far as the SE on the 9th. This is the earliest snowfall in the SE since November 1980. Furthermore, consider the contrast of maximum temperatures of about 3C in the south in this spell with 21C nine days earlier. -5C at Benson (Oxon) on the 10th and 14th. The month ended with warm SWs: 16.9C at Hawarden (Chester) on the 30th, an extremely high reading for so late in the year.

2002 Very wet. It rained every day of the month in parts of the southwest. The England and Wales average for the month was 166 mm - 70% over the long-term average, making it the sixth wettest of the century (but not as wet as 2000). Some places had the wettest on record (e.g. the Isle of Man, following the wettest October on record there). Milford Haven saw 369 mm (320% of average). It was however drier than average in the far NW. Falmouth recorded 18C on the 5th. There was flooding in the middle of the month in Cornwall and Moray. It was a mild month with very little frost - the fourth mildest of the last 100 years, and the warmest since 1994 (and 1938 and 1939 before that). Quite a dull month, with most of the sunshine in the first part of the month, although sunshine totals varied greatly.

2003 Very mild (8.4C CET, making it the eighth warmest in the last century). Quite wet in the south, but dry in the north and east. There was a warm spell early in the month, with 20C recorded at Lochcarron in Wester Ross on the 7th (exceeded nationally only in 1997, 1946, 1938, and 1906), and 18.8C at Northolt in the London region on the 6th, with warm southerly winds and two days of unbroken sunshine. The lowest reading of the month was -8.3C at Altnaharra on the 23rd. There were very heavy rainfalls in the south and east on the 22-23rd and 25-26th. At Gatwick 125 mm of rain fell between the 21st and 26th - 6 weeks' rain in 6 days! It was sunny in the north and west.

2004 Mostly anticyclonic, dry, and dull. Only 2001 had a higher average pressure in the last 50 years. It was the dullest November since 1997 and the driest since 1988 (England and Wales average of 52 mm, 53% average). It was particularly dry in SE Scotland and NE England, with just 25 mm rain. A short cold midmonth, with northerly winds bringing cold air. Heavy rain fell in the Midlands and south on Thursday 18th; 36 mm fell at Whipsnade. The rain turned to snow, accompanied by a dramatic fall in temperature (from 10C to 2C in a few minutes), as the cold air followed from the north. An inch or two or snow fell across the east midlands and parts of the north. Friday 19th was sunny and colder: the coldest November day since 1996. -8C was recorded at Tulloch Bridge and Loch Glascarnoch. The temperature fell to -13.2C at Kinbrace (Sutherland) on the night of the 20th-21st; the maximum at Loch Glascarnoch (Sutherland) the preceding day was only -3.8C - these are the lowest November temperatures since 1993. It became much milder everywhere on Sunday 21st, although there was more snow in the north and a notable outbreak of freezing rain affecting the north as much milder, windier weather came in from the west.

2005 A month of two halves again: the first half was the warmest since 1994, the second half the coldest since 1993. Overall therefore the month was very slightly cooler than average. It was dry in the east. It was also an extremely sunny month - the sunniest November on record, with an average of 98 hours (although beaten by 2006), easily beating 1988 (the average is 64 hours). Copley in Durham saw 124 hours. After an unsettled start it became dry, anticyclonic, and cold, with some sharp frosts at night. On the 2nd the temperature reached 18.8C at Prestatyn, and on the night of the 2-3rd the minimum at Herne Bay in Kent was 15.8C - a new record. Later it was -9.2C at Tulloch Bridge on the morning of the 18th and at Braemar on the 19th; the maximum at Pershore on the 20th, in freezing fog, was only -0.6C. On the 24th the winds turned to the north, introducing arctic air, with snow and biting winds. More snow on the 25th caused traffic havoc in school closures in Scotland, Wales, and the South West, particularly in Cornwall. There was more disruptive snow on the 28th, particularly affecting Manchester and Gloucestershire.

2006 The sunniest November on record. It was exceptionally sunny in the south and east, totalling 103 hours, beating the 2005 record. Shanklin had 135 hours, and Bognor Regis 136 hours. It was an unusually thundery November, particularly around the 24th. The first ten days had virtually unbroken sunshine along the south coast. It was quite dry in the east but very wet in the west and north. Inveruglas, west Scotland, had 610 mm of rain. It was the wettest November in Glasgow on record (with 300 mm of rain). Overall temperatures were slightly above average, although the first week was relatively cold.

2007. A little above average temperatures overall, rather warmer than average in the north. Dry, warm, settled start, unsettled, colder second half. It reached 18.2C at Kew on the 1st and Portland on the 2nd; and the lowest minimum was -7.8C at Saughall (Ayrshire) on the 23rd. The wettest spell was between the 17th and 21st; England and Wales average rainfall was 74 mm (63%) - part of the driest autumn on record. A sunny month, particularly in the south and east.

2008 Temperatures were close to average - although the maxima were quite low. It was quite a dull month, with below-average rainfall apart from parts of the south east and Midlands. The presence of a large anticyclone over the Atlantic for much of the month led to this being the most northerly November since 1971. Hawarden (Flint) recorded 16.0C on the 14th, and Braemar a low of -12.1C on the 30th. It became generally colder from the 21st, with some snow, especially in the north and east. Warcop (Cumbria) recorded a maximum of just -3.0C on the 30th.

2009 Warmer than average: the mildest since 1994. The highest temperature of the month was 17.8C at Teignmouth on the 1st, the lowest -8.6C at Braemar early on the 9th. Rainfall over England and Wales averaged 186 mm, 185% of the average, and the wettest since 1970. The monthly total at Shap was 624 mm, although some locations in Cumbria probably exceeded 1000 mm. It was very slightly sunnier than usual; Buxton (Norfolk) had 102 hours, Eskdalemuir just 28. The month was most notable for the extraordinary rainfall around Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th; heavy rainfall in the north and west, particularly affecting Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway, leading to severe flooding in Cumbria, particularly around Cockermouth. Seathwaite Farm near Borrowdale in the Lake District in Cumbria records 316.4 mm in a 24 hour period, where 142.6 mm fell in the official 9-9 period on 18-19th (from 9 am Wednesday until 9 am Thursday 19th), and 246.6 mm fell on the 19-20th. The heaviest period of rain was from 8 pm on Wednesday 18th to 6 am on Friday 20th. All that followed 38.7 mm on Monday 16-17th, and 60.8 mm on Tuesday 17-18th. These are amazing figures, and is a new twentyfour hour record for the UK. (Note though that the rainfall record for the official recording day, 9-9, is still 280 mm from Martinstown, Dorset, July 1955.) The Seathwaite figures are new record two (396 mm), three (456 mm), and four day (495) and a week (550 mm) rainfall totals for Britain. Styhead (Cumbria) recorded 1430 mm for the calendar month.

2010 Most memorable for an exceptional in any terms cold spell at the end of the month, November 2010 enjoyed a mild first week, particularly in the south, and a wet middle two weeks. SW winds brought warm weather to the south on the 4th; 19C at St James's Park in London, which is the highest November maximum since 2003. There was some heavy rain in the southwest midmonth, with 52 mm of rain at Cardinham, near Bodmin, on the 16-17th, led to flooding in Cornwall around St Austell and Lostwithiel. Overall the temperature was beneath average, making it the coldest since 1965. At the end of the month there was a severe spell of cold weather, with widespread snow, making it the worst November cold spell since 1993. It was most remarkable for the early date on which the intense cold set in. The temperature overnight on the 27th-28th fell to -18.0C at Llysdinam in Powys, a new Welsh record low for November. The lowest temperature in England was -13.5C at Topcliffe (North Yorks.) on the 28th - probably the lowest November temperature in England since 1904. The temperature fell to -11.9C in Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland on the 28th. There are some extremely low temperatures, and record-breaking snowfall for east Scotland on the 28-29th, particularly in the Dundee region, which effectively became cut off by a foot of snow. On the 30th the maximum at Loch Glascarnoch in Sutherland was only -6.7C. Rainfall in England and Wales was very slightly beneath average; it was particularly dry in the Cambridge area, which had only 16 mm of precipitation. It was very wet in parts of the SW, W Scotland, and E Scotland. It was quite a sunny month, particularly so in west Scotland; the sunniest place in the UK was Auchincruivie (Ayrshire) which saw 95 hours. The dullest place was Lerwick.

2011 The second warmest November on record, beaten only by 1994. A month with winds mostly from the southerly direction. It was warmest on the south coast, with a maximum of 18.1C at Otterbourne (Hants.) on the 13th, and a minimum of -6.9C at Carleton, Skipton (North Yorks.) on the 7th. It was a dry month in England and Wales, with just 53 mm of rain (also 53% of the average), although it was closer toa average in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was very dry in eastern England, with just 11 mm at Bridlington, and very wet in the Glasgow region. Sunshine was almost exactly average, but still the lowest for seven years, although it was sunny in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Kinloss (Morayshire) had 101 hours, and Lerwick just 29 hours.

2012 Slightly cooler and wetter than average overall. The month had a cool unsettled start; it then became anticyclonic and mild until the 14th. The period 19-26th was exceptionally wet with widespread flooding, landslides, and disruption. The end of the month was cool and dry with patchy snow. Some parts of the country from Devon through the Midlands to Humberside were particularly wet. The highest temperature of the month was 16.4C at Kew on the 13th, and the lowest -7.3C at Braemar early on the 29th. The highest daily rainfall total was 88.4 mm at Holne (Devon) on the 24th.

2013 Cold, dry, and sunny. The highest maximum was 16.5C at Exeter on the 6th, and the lowest minimum -8.1C at Braemar on the night of the 24-25th. The coldest spell was in the week starting the 19th. The maximum at Carter Bar (Roxburghshire) on the 22nd was +0.4C. England and Wales average rainfall for the month was 63 mm, 61% of the long-term average. Sunshine average was 86 hours, or 123%. The driest, sunniest place was Leuchars (Fife).

2014 Very mild, particularly in the first half, and generally unsettled. The warmest day was the 1st, seeing 19.6C at Jersey airport. The coldest night was the morning of the 15th with -4.3C at Loch Glascarnoch (Wester Ross). It was quite a wet month, with an average of 124 mm being 124% of the 81-10 long-term mean. It was particularly wet in west Wales and dry in east Scotland. Sunshine was 96%, with Cornwall being the sunniest part of the country this month.

2015 A very mild month. The month started with a new record high for November! Trawscoed near Aberystwyth recorded 22.4C, in a very mild southerly airstream combined with the Fohn effect. Generally the month was SW with little frost. With a CET of 8.2 (+2.0C), the month was the third mildest November in the last century (following 2011 and 1994.) It was particularly warm in the south. It was a wet month with 145% of average rainfall, and it was very wet in NW Wales, NW England, and SW Scotland. The lowest temperature of the month was -5.6C at Benson (Oxon.) on the 22nd. The month ended with a cold, snowy snap in the north.

2016 Unsettled midmonth in the south, but settled with cold spells at the end of the month, and more generally in the north. It was overall colder than average (5.6C CET), particularly with cold nights. Rainfall overall was 89% of average, drier in the north and west. It was a sunny month, particularly in NW Scotland, but not for poor Cornwall. The highest temperature of the month was 19.0C at Cardinham (Cornwall) on the 1st, and the lowest -12.1C at Braemar on the 21st. Named Storm Angus brought flooding ti the southwest midmonth.

2017 A changeable start, with mild westerlies, followed by high pressure, with a cold final week, with some snow. Overall the month was slightly cooler than average. The warmest days saw 16.2C at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) on the 1st and 16.8C at Chivenor (Devon) on the 2nd; the lowest mininum was -6.9 °C at Bewcastle (Cumbria) on the 30th. Much of the country failed to exceed 3C on the 30th. It was in the north and west and dry in the east and south, giving an overall England and Wales average of 79%. Essex was particularly dry with some places having less than 20 mm. It was mostly a sunny month, some places seeing more sunshine than October, with 121% of the average.


November in history

1099 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records a great storm surge along the North Sea coasts on Martinmas (11 November) casued destruction and flooding in London.

1694 Early in the month there was a great storm.

1703 Noted for the Great Storm on the 26th-27th (Julian calendar), also known as the "Channel Storm". Great losses at seas, and an estimated 8000 were killed. The Bishop of Bath and Wells was killed in his bed when a chimney stack collapsed on top of it. 400 windmills were destroyed when the caught fire as a result of the friction caused by their rotating too fast. The storm was more severe than the 1987 "hurricane".

1770 One of the wettest months on record.

1771 Severe flooding in Northumberland.

1782 The coldest on record (2.3C).

1788 The third driest April on record

1796 An early severe cold spell.

1805 The second driest April on record (0.91").

1807 Very cold (2.9).

1812 An early severe cold spell.

1818 Very warm (9.5) - the warmest until 1994.

1844 An early severe cold spell.

1852 The Duke of Wellington's Flood - his hearse was upset in a flood at Bath Road (in Maidenhead) in rain on the 17th. This was the beginning of three weeks of severe flooding across the southeast. A very wet month overall (203 mm), and the wettest November on record (218%). Until 2000, autumn 1852 was the wettest autumn on record.

1875 Serious flooding of the Thames around Windsor and Maidenhead.

1878 A record-breaking sequence of 15 consecutive colder-than-average months began this month.

1879 A spell of severe cold started in late November.

1890 A notable cold period at the end of the month in Jersey, the start of a harsh winter. The severe weather started on the 25th and lasted until 22 January. A probable -8.8C on the 29th, with heavy snow. At Greenwich the minimum was -7.6 on the 29th. -15C was recorded at Abinger (Mole Valley, Surrey), and -21.1C at Addington (Bucks.), although these readings are of dubious authenticity. Nevertheless this cold spell was clearly exceptional, and continued into an exceptional December.

1894 Exceptionally severe flooding in the south, particularly Devon and Cornwall, continued following more heavy rain in November.

1897 On the 12th 204 mm of rain fell in orographic (non-thundery) rain in 24 hours at Seathwaite in the Lake District. This is the first reliable record of more than 200 mm a day on record. Stye Head at the head of the Borrowdale might have seen 295 mm.

1898 231 mm of rain fell in 16 hours at Borrowdale (again) around the 2nd. There was widespread flooding in the Lake District as a result of the heavy rain.


Further information

All temperature averages are based on an aggregate measure known as the Central England Temperature index for the twentieth century. The CET series begins in 1659. I have cobbled these data together from as many sources as possible, but particularly Bob Prichard's weather column in the Guardian on a Wednesday, Philip Eden's in the Sunday Telegraph, Philip Eden's indispensable book Weatherwise (MacMillan, 1995, ISBN 0 333 61610 3), the BBC Ceefax service, and Philip Eden's Weather Log in the journal Weather. Many thanks to them all. All temperatures in Celsius (F = (9xC/5) + 32). If there is no decimal place I only have the data to the nearest degree.

If you believe these data to be inaccurate in any way, or you have additions to the list, please let me know by email to t.a.harley@dundee.ac.uk


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