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The UK Met Office report that the UK has just had its coldest autumn for nineteen years, leaving 2012 on course to be second coldest year since 1996.

Mean temperature in November was 0.4C below the 1981-2010 average, the third month in a row when temperatures have been well down on normal.

The average temperature for the autumn in the UK was 8.6C, compared to the long term average of 9.5C and the coldest since 1993. It is also the sixth coldest autumn in the last 50 years.

The year as a whole is currently running as the second coldest since 1996, beaten only by the exceptionally cold year of 2010. Temperatures so far in December are 2 degrees below normal, and the Met Office are forecasting that this will continue for the foreseeable future.

One of the features this autumn is just how persistent the cold weather has been. There have not been any exceptionally cold interludes, as, for instance, we saw with the heavy snow in November 2010. Instead, the weather has just been consistently cold.

Figure 1


Rainfall

Rainfall totals for the UK during the autumn amounted to 374mm, about 8% above normal, but nothing exceptional. For instance, this total has been beaten six times in the last 30 years.

Figure 2
Several areas were affected by floods towards the end of November, particularly in SW England and Wales, and the map below shows rainfall totals were well above normal there during the month.
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However, as Figures 3 & 4 show, the rainfall totals just experienced in that part of the country, during both November and the autumn as a whole, are actually very commonplace. Indeed, it can be seen just how variable the UK's weather can be!


Figure 3

Figure 4
Met Office Autumn Forecast

At the end of August, the Met Office 3-month outlook forecast:-
The balance of probabilities suggests that September will be slightly warmer than average whilst for the period September-October-November UK-averaged temperatures will be near the 1981-2010 climate mean.
and
For UK averaged rainfall the predicted probabilities weakly favour below normal values during September. For the period September/October/November as a whole the forecast favours a slightly higher than usual risk of above average rainfall, whilst the risk of dry conditions remains around climatological levels.
Woefully wrong on temperatures, but a bit better on rainfall. I'll give them a C+ overall!

All Met Office data is available here.