Brollies up - prepare for Muriel's annual weather report

A veteran weather recorder who lives in the Lancashire uplands has revealed that rainfall reached record levels on her land in the past decade.

By Fiona Finch
Monday, 31st January 2022, 9:51 am

Weather recorder Muriel Lord, who lives near Chipping in the Ribble Valley, is used to it being rainy. But even so, when she looked back at her records it gave her pause for thought.

She said: "As usual it is the rain which is the story...2021 was the 10th wettest year recorded here since 1969. Of those ten wettest years, all except two have come since 2000."

While 2020 was the wettest with 2009.6 mm/79.1 inches of rain, last year was also in the top league, coming in at 10th place with 1761.1mm/69.3 inches of rain. One day stood out particularly in 2021 - January 19 proved to be the wettest day since Muriel's records began.

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Weather recorder Muriel Lord

Muriel's records reveal that over the long term the average yearly rainfall in her locality is 1496.4 mm / 58.9 inches...but some years are exceptionally rainier.

She said: "The trend for heavier rain is particularly noticeable in the Lancashire hills, with western upslopes exposed to the wetter airstreams crossing the increasingly warming Atlantic. The trend for increased rain continues. "

Muriel still uses the weather measuring equipment she and her husband started recording with in the 1960s. She said: "Daily rainfall recording at the Met Office site here started in September 1968, 1969 was the first complete year of data."

Looking back on 2021 Muriel noted: "2021 started with a record wet January 300.6 mm (11.8 inches). This included three days of exceptionally wet weather from Storm Christoph, bringing 81.0 mm (3.1 inches) on January 19th. This was the wettest day ever recorded here. Occasional light snow followed until mid February. Spring was slow with no reliable warmth until late May."

Muriel Lord at work at her weather recording station

But summer 2021 was a different story. She said: "Then a very good summer arrived, the best for several years. Often warm and sunny with plenty of dry spells and just enough rain to keep plants growing well. Highest temperatures came (on) July 22nd and 23rd, reaching 29.4C (84.9F)."

That mild weather continued uintil the end of the year said Muriel, "apart from the brief shock of Storm Arwen on November 26th and 27th."

Arwen meant trees were blown down in a fierce northerly gale and there were some electricity cuts, but after a little light snow mild weather returned.

Muriel's top 10 of record rainfall are 2020, 2012, 2000, 2017, 1980. 2019, 1981, 2008, 2011 and 2021.

Regarding the 20th century years of 1980 and 1981 also seeing record rainfall, Muriel said: "In March 1980 Mt St Helens volcano in the USA exploded. Did the vast emissions from that event affect our weather?"

As for 2022 - Muriel can be sure of one thing - here comes the rain again.