Weather Records


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Rainfall records up to 2003 for Swanage

Weather readings have been recorded at Durlston since 1988. Readings are taken at 09:00 every morning.

  • Live Data from our weather station (this new station needs calibrating so it is not yet suitable for research purposes) 

Stats Explained

The following readings refer to the conditions at 09:00:

  • Wind strength (miles per hour)
  • Wind direction
  • Visibility (km)
  • Cloud cover (in oktas)
  • Pressure (millibars) and tendency (rising, steady or falling)
  • Temperature - dry and wet - (C)

These readings refer to the conditions over the previous 24 hours:

  • Rainfall (mm)
  • Maximum wind gust (miles per hour)
  • Temperature - maximum and minimum (C)
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Annual Summary

Weather Summary - 2010

In another year of marked contrasts 2010 began and ended very cold, with frost, ice and snow. December 2010 was exceptional in this. Countrywide it was the coldest since records began, as was the monthly mean temperature in Durlston. This anomaly was caused by an unusual position of the jet stream, which curved south to keep Atlantic weather away from the west, and allowed the penetration of a continuous flow of Arctic or Siberian air over the country. This reduced the customary progression of rainbearing westerlies, which meant a lower than average total precipitation. Although last winter was wet, the subsequent spring, summer and autumn were relatively dry, even with above average monthly totals in March, August and November. The 745.9mm (29.4in) annual total was the third lowest on record.Temperatures remained well down into spring, easing somewhat at the equinox but falling back until May, struggling to reach a seasonal level at the summer solstice. The highest daily maximum was 26.2C (79.2F) on the 26th July, but throughout the summer the maximum only reached 70F on 14 days. Autumn was cool, with the prevalence of northerly winds, and in late November and December it became bitingly cold, frosty, and icy with some snow.

Monthly Summary

Jan very cold; frost, snow; heavy rain at times, stormy
Feb cold, frosty, wet and windy; low pressure.
Mar Wintry and dry until warmer wet equinox, ending cold
Apr Began wet; very dry from 5th, cool
May Very dry and cool, almost drought conditions until 26th
June Wet start, very dry from 8th, warm
Jul Warm and dry; cooler mid-month
Aug Wet, cool, until sunny last week
Sep Low rainfall, seasonal temps. But some cool nights
Oct Wet first week then mainly dry, warm start and end
Nov Mild and wet until 20th, then dry and very cold NE winds
Dec Very cold, very frosty, some snow, low precipitation total



Weather Summary - 2009

In a year of marked contrasts, catastrophic floods in the north of the country were followed by country-wide and unusually persistent cold conditions with snow and ice later. In the south it was less extreme: even so here the total precipitation, 1001.6 mm (39.4 in) was well above average, being one of only seven years when the total has exceeded 1000 mm since our records began in 1988. The average for Durlston is if the order of 36 inches per annum. The jet stream had moved further south than usual, allowing the constant passage of Atlantic depressions across the British Isles. Some of these exceptionally vigorous, resulting in storm force winds, gusting to more than 60 mph as they moved up-Channel along the south coast. Autumn was the wettest season with an above average rainfall total, falling predominantly in November. Spring was amongst one of the driest on record, and summer was below average in rainfall, although July was unusually wet. It was not a cold year, despite a cold beginning and the extreme conditions at the end, when snow and low temperatures disrupted train services from Wareham around Christmas. Spring was warm with equinoctial high pressure and above average temperatures; summer was a cool disappointment, apart from one hot day in mid-August, on the fringe of a continental heat wave which caused many deaths abroad.


Monthly Summary



Jan Cold, wet, windy. Max gust 67 mph; thunder
Feb Wet, lightning. Hard winter ended mid-month.
Mar Spring began with 2cm snow, then warm and dry spell
Apr Unusually dry and warm
May Hot, dry end to spring
June Warm to very warm (23C, 74F). Thunderstorms
Jul Very wet, windy
Aug Cloudy, dull, damp. Disappointing end to summer
Sep Equinoctial high pressure; particularly warm at first
Oct Warm for autumn, dry. St Lukes summer at close
Nov Very wet, thundery, mild. 5th wettest Autumn
Dec Wet, with thunderstorms (gusts to 67 mph). Turned cold, with widespread frost.



Weather Summary - 2008

Although all four seasons were wet, spring and autumn in particular, the 891.2mm (35.1in) total precipitation for the year was close to the average for Durlston. A mild and wet winter ended with an exceptionally dry February. Vigorous depressions with gale-storm force winds, maximum gust 64 mph, in January were offset by very high pressure and a long dry period in February. March was windy, particularly at the spring equinox. A maximum gust of 67mph with nearly an inch of rain on the 10th came from a deep low pressure system, 951mb. March was also mild at the beginning and the end, but frosty on the 4th and the 21st, and an early Easter was cold. Snow flurries followed in April, and a burst of cold Arctic air. There were two thunderstorms this month and a warm, very wet ending. May was also warm, maximum temperatures exceptionally above 21.6C (71F) between the 10th and the 13th, and this spring warmth continued into summer. June was warmer and drier than average with a maximum temperature of 24.2C (75.6F) on the 8th (the highest maximum this year) although the summer solstice was cool and damp. June was relatively dry, but July was very changeable. Very wet weather at first, a recording of 48mm (nearly 2 inches) of rain between the 8th and 10th, was followed by a long, dry period. Summer ended with a very wet August, the accompanying cloud cover keeping temperatures below average. September was very wet and windy at first, drier, quiet and warm at the autumn equinox. October and November, frequently wet and very windy from a succession of Atlantic depressions, brought a turbulent autumn to a close. December began exceptionally cold, with stormy Arctic air behind cold fronts. A milder period ensued leading up to a sunny Christmas, only to be replaced by bitterly cold continental air and hard frost finally.


Monthly Summary



Jan Mild, wet, windy (64mph gust) from Atlantic depressions, then high pressure, cold frosty nights.
Feb Mild, spring-like, dry., high pressure
Mar Wet, windy (deep low pressure, 67mph gust); gales at equinox; mild at times, cold in between.
Apr Spells of cold northerly winds, snow flurries, ending mild, wet, thundery.
May Warm winds off continent, high temperatures 11-16th, wet final week
June Warmer, highest max. of year (24.2C), and drier than average, but frost on 11th; summer solstice cool and wet.
Jul Changeable; wet, cool, windy, then long dry, warmer period.
Aug Very wet and cool end to summer.
Sep Began very wet, warm and windy, ended dry, quiet, cooler; autumn equinox mild.
Oct Wet again and windy, ending with cold Arctic winds.
Nov Cool, wet (some heavy downpours), windy (59mph gust), with sunny spells between.
Dec Very cold beginning, warmer sunny Christmas, bitterly cold end.

%average rainfall: winter 119% spring 152% summer 131.7% autumn 178.1%
annual total 96.5%


Weather Summary - 2007

Although not the wettest year since the millenium, this years total precipitation, 1025.8mm (40.4in), was well above the average for Durlston, which is 924.7mm, (36.4in).  The winter was wet;  the spring total was average, a very dry April (2.5mm) contrasting with a very wet May;  a very wet summer, July being the wettest here at Durlston (160mm, 6.3in) in the 19 years of keeping records;  and autumn was relatively dry.  The year ended with a wet December.  The heaviest fall was 49.2mm (1.9in) on 27-28th May.  The rain frequently fell in heavy showers with strong, gusty winds; the maximum gust recorded was 67mph, storm force, on March 6th, and 61 mph occurred on 2nd December. Nationally 2007 was the second warmest year since 1914 but here temperatures were only marginally above average.  July, August and September were rather cool, but April was very warm for spring.  The coastal location and southerly aspect on the cliff modified summer temperatures and in autumn and winter reduced the incidence of frost.  The prevalence of cloud was another important factor.

Monthly Summary


Jan Warmest since 1989.  Average rainfall, gusty winds. Cold snap 23-28th, frosty.
Feb Very wet and windy.  Max. gust 58mph.  Thunderstorm 24th
Mar Windy, 67mph 6th;  mostly very mild, but cold snap 18-25th with snow shower
Apr High pressure, very warm, 71.6F on 26th, tempered by sea breezes. Very dry.
May Very wet, max. fall 49.2mm 27th, with cold Arctic winds, cf. 72F on 17th
Jun Wettest June since 1991 here, after early dry spell.  Cloudy but warm
Jul Very wet, windy and cloudy.  Wettest July on record here
Aug  End of wettest summer on record here;  38.9mm (1.5in) 13/14th; 74.5F on 23rd
Sept High pressure, low rainfall, cloudy, windy; warm at first, cool later
Oct Generally dry, mild.  Some frontal rain with gusty winds.
Nov Dry at first; wet from 18th when 24.5mm (almost 1 in) fell
Dec Wet, some heavy falls, windy, max. gust 61 mph.  Mild with short cold snap pre-Xmas.


Weather Summary - 2006 


In a year of exceptional weather, broken records in temperature, long periods of drought, Durlston, with its southerly coastal location and the modifying effects of proximity to the sea, did not always participate in the extremes.  Nevertheless it was a year of distinct contrasts, changing from cold and dry for the early months to noticeably warm from the end of April until and including December.  There were few frost records. The warmth was such that the cold snap just before Christmas was striking.  The warmest month this year was July, with the highest July mean temperature since 1989 here.  The yearly mean temperature of 10.9C is equal to the Central England Temperature for 2006.



The total precipitation, 811.6mm (32in) was 88.2% of the average for Durlston, much of it in the form of heavy, gusty rain showers.  Winds of gale force were frequently experienced, with gusts of 50-60+ mph, and a maximum gust of 80mph on 2nd December.  June was the driest month, April and August were also low in rainfall.  Spring would have been dry except for the heaviest May rainfall in our records.  Other months were below average until September, ending the year with a wet autumn and close.  Thunderstorms were recorded in May, July, September, November and December.  A few flakes of snow fell in February.


Monthly Summary


Cold, dry.  6 records of frost.


Cold.  Gusty rain showers, light snow flurries 23rd, 4 frost records.


Cold.  Gusty rain and hail showers.  4 frost records.


Cool start, predominantly dry, noticeably warm end.


Warm and wet.  Very heavy rain showers, thunderstorm.  Sunny end.


Warm and dry. 


Hot.  Low rainfall, thunderstorms.


Warm, dry.


Warmest on our records; dry start, wetter end.  Thunder, 11th, 24th


Warmest on our records; average rainfall.


Warm, very wet, thunderstorm 16th, gusty winds.


Very mild excluding frosty week before Christmas.   Wet.  Thunderstorm, gust 80mph.


Weather Summary - 2005

In  a year with a total precipitation of 834.0mm (32.8in), 11% more than  down in Swanage, the seasonal distribution was surprising:  a  relatively dry winter, driest here since 1997 (in the UK since 1962/3),  followed by a wet spring, and an even wetter summer in which the totals  were two thirds above the average for Durlston (based on records since 1988).  The wettest months were April, June, August, and October.  The rain was often in the form of blustery showers, with storm force winds  on two occasions when maximum gusts recorded were 66 and 67 mph.   There  were some heavy falls of rain, 30.6mm (1.2in) on the 23/24th July, and the heaviest in October on the 24th, 37.4mm, and 25th, 34.1mm,  measuring 2.8 inches in all.  Thunderstorms were reported in March, April, June, August and September.

In general it was a warm year with some cold snaps, particularly in the first three months, and again in December .  The highest maximum temperature, 25.4C (77.7F) was recorded on the 11th August, the lowest minimum, -4.6C (23.7F) on the 28th December.  Snow flurries were reported in January, but unfortunately none in the very cold, frosty spell around Christmas.  On the last day  there was a dramatic change to strong southerly and then westerly winds bringing warmer conditions and rain.

Monthly Summary

Jan Mild except 5 day cold snap. 3 frosts;  storm, gust 66mph 7/8th.
Feb Dry, mild spells;  ending with 9 day cold snap, 7 frosts.
Mar Continued cold snap for  6 days, 5 frosts; low rainfall; equinoctial thunderstorm.
Apr Unsettled, wet, thunderstorms with hail, 1 frost behind cold front.
May Long dry periods but above average rain, some heavy, blustery showers.
Jun In total very wet, but long dry periods.  Warm;  thunderstorms 23rd, 24th, 28th.
Jul Long dry periods, max. 25.4C, then very wet, 30.6mm (1.2in) 23/24th.
Aug Wet;  27.5mm (1.1in)18/19th with thunder;  sea breezes reduced heat.
Sep Unusually dry;  blustery showers during final week;   mild.
Oct Very wet: 37.4 and 34.1mm 23/24/25th with gales, 56mph gust;  warm end.
Nov Below average rainfall; high pressure, 1042mb, 23rd;  frosty final week.

Varied: first low pressure, heavy rain, then high to very high pressure, 1046mb and cold, white with frost, but not on Christmas Day.  Ended wet.

Weather Summary - 2004

The  total precipitation, 835.8mm (32.9in), was the lowest since1992 at  Durlston Country Park, but included some very wet spells, particularly  in January, July, August, and October. January and October were the  wettest months, with rainfall exceeding 100mm (4 in). The torrential  rainfall, 32.6mm, of mid-December was only exceeded by a fall of 34.2mm  on the 8th July.

Showery  conditions predominated, often very windy; gusts of over 60 mph were  recorded on 7/01, 31/01, 14/03, 24/06, 17/12. The wettest seasons were  winter and autumn, the driest months May, June, and November.  Measurable snow fell on 28th January, but not over Christmas when so  much of the country was white. Here it was a sharp frost.

Although  nationally 2004 was the fifth warmest year on record and globally  probably the fourth since 1861, the temperatures here were generally  close to average. Proximity to the sea and frequency of cloud cover  tempering the hot spells and reducing the hours of sunshine, as well as  keeping us warmer in winter.

The  highest maximum was 26.7C (80.1F) on the 14th June. Minimum  temperatures below freezing were infrequent - January (3), February  (7), March (2), and December (2).

Monthly Summary

Jan Very variable: snow, thunderstorm, very wet, sometimes mild Max. gust 69mph
Feb Began wet and windy, turned cold, north winds, windchill, frosty, some short-lived snow showers.
Mar Cold alternated with very mild, calm with very windy, storm 14th
Apr Very showery, wet, storm 3/04, but very mild at Easter
May Wet 4-5th, otherwise high pressure, dry, 71F on 20th, then cool, Thunderstorm on 10th
Jun Mostly dry, near drought, heat wave; ending stormy rain showers
Jul Torrential rain storms gave way to high pressure and heat wave
Aug Dry, warm (74F) start and end, wet in the middle with thunder
Sep Began dry and warm (75F), then changeable, frequently wet, (thunder 13th, 14th), cool.
Oct Very wet, frequent wild heavy showers, (thunder 16th).
Nov Frequent northerly winds, low night temperatures, low rainfall.
Dec Cool, dry first half, storm, torrential rain in middle, then quiet cold and frosty for Christmas, ending the year mild.

Weather Summary - 2003

Nationally 2003 was noted for :

  • June - hottest since 1976
  • August - record temperature 38.5' (East Anglia)
  • September - sunniest in 30 years
  • October - sunniest ever

Here  at Durlston things were less dramatic, sea breezes by day in the hot  weather reducing the temperature (highest daytime maximum 30.2'C (86F)  in August) and frequency of cloud cover reducing the hours of sunshine.  Apart from one or two spells of frosty weather in the winter months of  January, February and just before Christmas, temperatures were near or  above the average.

The  rainfall total of 875.7mm (34.5") was lower for Durlston than it has  been for the last six years: in fact for five of the last ten years the  total has exceeded 1,000mm. The wettest seasons in 2003 were spring and  autumn separated by a rather dry summer in which the absence of  moisture was accentuated by the heat and attendant evaporation.

Much  of the rain fell in heavy, squally rain showers, some of them thundery,  with winds gusting to gale force. This meant that the absorption rate  was low and run-off high.

There were some exceptionally heavy falls during the year:



1-2 Jan




31 Oct



19-20 Jan




24 Nov



7 June




26 Nov



23 Oct




1 Dec

(These amounts were recorded at 09:00hrs on the dates given, referring to the previous 24 hour period.)

Monthly Summary

Jan Began warm with heavy rain and storm force winds, but quickly turned  cold, 9 nights below freezing in periods of high pressure. High total  rainfall.
Feb Cold, with long spells of easterly winds, 6 nights below freezing: mild end to month.
Mar Sunniest on record, long periods of high pressure, dry (66% av rainfall).
Apr More high pressure but only one frost: dry until showers late in the month, average temperatures.
May Mild with well distributed rainfall above average in total.
Jun Wet with heavy, thundery showers: 3 days with 70+f temperatures.
Jul Long dry spells, bulk of rain in last 10 days giving well above average total.
Aug Dry, fairly sunny but very warm; sea breezes.
Sep Very dry, only 5 days with rain, warm.
Oct Again long dry spells, but heavy thunderstorms, cool. Downpours at end.
Nov Much fair weather and a cold snap: some showers until final 8 days when  heavy downpours and strong winds, 150% average rainfall.
Dec Heavy rain to begin with, some dry spells and a cold snap just before Christmas, then heavy, stormy rain showers.

Weather Summary 2002

Records  have been broken this year:  the highest total rainfall since records  began at Durlston (1988) and Swanage (available since 1972) - Durlston  1248.8mm (49.2in), Swanage 1159.8mm (44.5in);  highest single monthly  total (November), Durlston 285.5mm (11.2in), Swanage 255.9mm (10.1in);   highest single fall 128.7mm (5.1in) at Durlston on the 8/9th  September;  and it was one of the warmest years since records began  nationally.

Only recently have the annual rainfall totals exceeded 1000mm, three times in Swanage, four in Durlston, since 1993.

Beginning  quiet and dry, 2002 declared itself by the end of January in terms of  heavy, squally downpours of rain, gale force winds, thunder at times,  but generally mild.  The first quarter of the year was characterised by  spells of strong winds and heavy rain, ending with 255mm (10in) total  rainfall, with some remarkable single falls, on the 26th January  (32.7mm) and the 3/4th February (38.1mm).

April  was  dry, until a wild end with more heavy rain and gales, which  continued throughout May, punctuated by some short, dry spells of high  pressure, but ending with twice the average total rainfall for  Swanage.

June  was drier, with less than average rainfall, but damp, cloudy and cool,  only to revert to a wet beginning to July, 37.2mm (1.5in) on the 2nd  and virtually 1 inch on the 8th.  But after the 10th summer arrived:   fair weather, warm (18-20C, 64-68F) and dry, with sea breezes.  The  highest daily maximum temperature for the year was 26.6C, 79.9F, on the  29th July.

Summer  continued throughout August as spells of sunshine, though more often  cloudy with some heavy thundery showers.  In September came national  fame with that 24 hour deluge and disastrous flooding, but it was  virtually dry thereafter, and pleasantly warm and sunny.  The autumn  equinox was quiet.

October  saw more heavy rain, showers and stormy conditions with some thunder,  followed by the unrelenting downpours and thundery showers of November,  amounting to three times the average total for Swanage.  There were  storm force winds, gusting 71mph on the 13th (not a record here  however), and on the 14th exceptionally low pressure, 959mb.   Temperatures were mild, but it felt cold in the strong winds.  More wet  conditions carried on through December, with the exception of two short  cold snaps, when there were some hard night frosts, particularly  inland.  Then another downpour, 38.5mm (1.5in) on the 21st, the winter  solstice, ushered in a mild and wet Christmas, and above average  temperatures thereafter.

Altogether a wet year, with April, June and August the only (relatively) dry  months.  Autumn remains well and truly our wettest season.