Cleadon Weather Station


Weather Station

ELTA 1951-2000

Local Climate


Past months

Winter Snow Events

Climate change
























My interest in meteorology as a hobby started as early as the age of 4, but didn't really take off until 1993 when I started taking weather records. My first memory of a significant weather event was a snowstorm in early 1991 which gave very deep snow, and I assume that this was the result of that easterly spell around 7-10 February. The snowy North East winter of 1993/94, and the frequent interesting weather of the year 1995, helped encourage my interest. Another factor was the BBC TV forecasts of 1995-2000- those strongly helped to develop and broaden my interest. This was in the days when synoptic analysis was frequent, and heavy use of value judgements on the weather was rare (for the most part they just told you the weather and left the viewer to decide whether it was good or bad).


Preferred Weather

Like many people I enjoy sunshine, and welcome spells of sunny weather at all times of year. I am also a fan of convective precipitation (the stuff that falls from cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds) as it can be very dramatic and is often associated with frequent and unpredictable changes of weather. I find thunderstorms exciting and awe-inspiring, and am also something of a snow nut- wherever feasible I will be observing keenly when there's a chance of some wintry precipitation.

I also have a strong preference for "episodic" months with frequent changes of weather pattern and temperature switch-arounds between warm and cold. This applies all year around but especially outside of the summer months (in summer most cold weather tends to be cloudy and wet, which puts me off it). I find that months dominated by the same type of weather and similar synoptics throughout tend to get boring after a while (this isn't the same as labelling all extreme months as boring- some, like July 2006 and December 2010, are characterised by intensity rather than homogeneity and thus still manage a fair amount of variety).

My preferences remain consistent all year around rather than being seasonal- I emphatically dont share the prevailing desire over at for us to have cold snowy winters and then a sudden flip to persistent warm settled weather starting on the 1st March.


Best Places for Exciting Weather

Trevor Harley has his own analysis here and concludes that south-east Scotland may be the least exciting area for weather, and that south-east England is the most exciting. To be honest, his views are not a lot different to mine.

I don't think Cleadon is one of the most exciting places in the country for weather, except when we get cold, unstable airstreams coming in from the north-eastern quarter of the compass. In that case the cold airmasses flowing over the relatively warm North Sea generate deep instability and promote heavy and occasionally thundery wintry showers, with fluctuating temperatures depending on shower activity strength and direction of the wind (in showery setups with a strong easterly or north-easterly flow, temperatures are typically held up by the North Sea during clear intervals, then drop up to a few degrees during showers). Coastal Tyne and Wear also ranks among the UK's sunniest regions during the winter. But on the other side of the coin, thunderstorms are infrequent, convective activity is relatively rare outside of the scenario described above, and summers are moderated heat and sunshine wise by both the Atlantic and by the North Sea. It is often difficult to sit out for long in the evenings because there is usually a cold wind of some description.

I am put off from inland parts of south-east England because they get an even lower frequency of convective "sunshine and showers" type days than Cleadon. This may sound counter-intuitive considering that they get a lot of thunderstorms, but this is because what convective activity they do get tends to be intense. Norwich gets my vote as the most exciting place for weather. It is something of a thunderstorm hotspot, gets relatively frequent sunshine-and-showers days (showers have a habit of developing as they head east over Norfolk), gets pretty hot and sunny at times in the summer, and it also gets the same sort of dramatic "thundery wintry showers" from northerly and easterly flows in winter as Cleadon does. It is also far enough inland to escape most of the tempering effects of the North Sea. In my experience it also gets some pretty good sunsets. Howeveer, as the winter of 2010/11 starkly demonstrated, even Norwich can occasionally go through phases where it sees a lot of "play-it-safe" weather while other parts of the UK get heavy snowstorms/thunder etc. I also think parts of Yorkshire and the Midlands are pretty good for exciting weather.

The least exciting? I suggest the coastal strip of Fife- perhaps somewhere near RAF Leuchars.