Morecambe and Lancaster suffer wettest November and December since records began

Lancaster under water after the floods in early December.
Lancaster under water after the floods in early December.
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All-time records for rainfall in Morecambe and Lancaster have been shattered, weather experts have revealed.

We suffered the wettest November and December since records began in 1966 as storms lashed the region causing floods and power cuts.

A graphic showing the level of rainfall in the Lancaster and Morecambe area in November and December.

A graphic showing the level of rainfall in the Lancaster and Morecambe area in November and December.

December rainfall topped a whopping 306.44mm (12.06 inches) for the month, the wettest December on record by far.

The two months combined saw 556.2mm (22.3 inches) of rain, more than one-and-a-half times higher than the previous record.

The 24 hours from 9am on Saturday, December 6, the day Storm Desmond battered the district and the Lune broke its banks, saw 59.77mm of rainfall, the second highest in a day since records began.

The highest was 69.4mm on December 8 1983.

Sunshine totals were around half the average, with 28 and 23 hours for November and December respectively.

Two periods of 10 days had no sunshine at all with only about six hours between December 1 and 20.

But November 2015 was also the third mildest on record, with daytime maximum temperatures 4.5°C above average.

Local rainfall and temperature records are taken at the Hazelrigg and Bailrigg weather stations at Lancaster University then passed to the Met Office.

Dr James Heath, weather expert at the university, said: “Taking the two months together, nothing comes anywhere near this year’s totals.

“Even though the three wettest Novembers and three wettest years have been since the year 2000, so has the driest November so there’s a lot of variability.

“But, looking back 100 plus years using various sources from the local area, there does appear to be an increase in rainfall during the winter and autumn in particular.”

There was only one day without rain in November, Sunday the 22nd.

That weekend also had more than a third of the total sunshine for the whole month which was well under half the average at 28 hours.

The wettest day was Saturday, November 14 with 23.4mm and half of the monthly total fell in the 10 days leading up to that, ending with Storm Abigail followed closely by the remains of ex-tropical storm Kate.

On the afternoon of Sunday, November 8 rain was falling at a rate of 18mm per hour at one point.

Dr Heath said the wet November and December was particularly noticeable after a dry October when there was about half of the average rainfall.

KEY STATS

NOVEMBER: wettest on record, 249.8mm (9.8 inches) rainfall. Previous wettest 244.8mm in 2009.

DECEMBER: wettest by far on record, 2.7 times higher than the average. 306.4mm (12.06 inches) rainfall. Previous wettest 234.5mm in 1986.

COMBINED: 556.2mm of rainfall in November and December (22.3 inches). Previous wettest 357.5 in 1986.

WETTEST NOVEMBERS - TOP FIVE

2015 – 249.8 (9.8 inches)

2009 - 244.8

2000 - 214.0

1980 - 188.0

1984 - 177.1

WETTEST YEARS - TOP FIVE

2000 – 1567.2

2012 – 1457.1

1981 – 1398.2

1980 – 1356.4

2008 – 1305.9

(2015 to date: 1019.9)

AVERAGE TEMPERATURES NOVEMBER - TOP THREE

1994 – 9.6 °C

2011 – 9.5 °C

2015 – 9.1 °C

Average: 6.9 °C

*A public meeting on the implications of climate change will be held at Friends Meeting House, Lancaster at 11am this Saturday, January 9.

Speakers include Brian Heatley, a founder member of Green House Think Tank, John Foster, writer and associate philosophy teacher at Lancaster University and Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility.