Here on the central south coast of England, it is rare for temperatures to drop much below freezing. This cold snap we recorded -4.5 °C at night and barely rising above 0°C during the day. And thanks to economies we’re making due to the ridiculously high price of natural gas, the house itself seldom rose above 18°C.
Our prevailing winds are south westerly – or at least they used to be. These tend to cool us in the summer and warm us in the winter. This year we noticed that we have longer periods of easterly and north easterly winds. They seldom reach faster than around 2 metres per second but tend to bring much greater extremes of temperature. Right now the anemometer is barely moving. Yet it’s bloody cold outside – even our local brass monkeys are wearing a second pair of underpants today. 🙂
In all seriousness, I think we really are witnessing the early effects of climate change, in real time. April, the month traditionally associated with “April Showers“, we recorded just 16.5mm of rain – about 5/8 of an inch, in “old money”. Our summer temperatures literally broke dozens of records, as the lack of our customary south-westerlies allowed temperatures to rise 10 °C or more above what one would normally expect round these parts. To be clear, it’s not the fact the weather is a bit odd a that concerns me. It’s the fact that these extremes are becoming more frequent.
On the bright side – or perhaps that should read “dull side” – it seems that in a few days time, we are likely to see at least a temporary return of our more traditional grey skies and daily drizzle of around two to three millimetres of light rain. This will be accompanied by a return of our traditional south westerlies, up to around 13 m/s (30 mph | 50 km/h). OWM indicates this transition will likely occur between around 2022-12-17 and 2022-12-19, but gives no indication with regard to how long it is likely to last. But I’d wager we’re in for another “grey Christmas”.
Meantime, much has been made in the local press of people slipping in the ice, especially the frail and elderly. Due to chronic underfunding, Hampshire Ambulance Service has been in a state of perma-crisis for some time. Seems it’s current advice is essentially that if you need an ambulance, then call a cab. However, before well-meaning passers-by scrape you off the pavement and stuff you in the taxi, remember to dial 111 first. This is to find a casualty department that actually has the staff and resources to treat you.