February 1997 provided quite a contrast to the previous month with daytime temperatures more than 2°C above average. These temperatures were broadly equivalent to the warm February's of 1989, 1990 and 1995. The whole country was mild, although in places the south and east of the UK reached 3°C above average. For most of the month temperatures were about 3-4 weeks ahead of the seasonal average, so that late February was as warm as an average end to March.
As well as being very mild, February was extremely wet, especially over Scotland. This was a great contrast to the two previous winter months, December and January which had been very dry over the UK. Parts of northwest Scotland recorded more than three times their usual February rainfall, Eskdalemuir nearly four times. Rainfall in the southeast of England was closer to average, although even here totals were generally 10-20% above the February normal.
Averaged for the country as a whole, sunshine in February was close to normal, although there was a big contrast between the east coast (sunny) and the west (cloudy). Scarborough, for example, recorded nearly double its average February sunshine whereas Belfast was slightly cloudier than usual. The south of England was also unusually cloudy with Poole recording less than 70% of average sunshine. Valentine's Day was the sunniest day of the month with over 6 hours of sunshine nationally, the sunniest day since early October.
Dr Mike Hulme is a Research Climatologist at the University of East Anglia
|Daytime Temperature||2.2°C above average,|
|Rainfall||74% above average;|
|Sunshine||3% above average.|
|Sunniest||Leuchars||11 hours sun|
|Cloudiest||Poole||44 hours sun|