David Crowhurst

Oxford experienced its wettest month for 145 years in October 2020, according to weather observers from the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University.

The final monthly measurement recorded at the Radcliffe Meteorological Station in Green Templeton College took October's rainfall total to 185.3 mm. This is the most observed in any month since October 1875. Last month was also the second wettest October since records began in 1767, and the fourth wettest of all months.

David Crowhurst, current doctoral researcher and Radcliffe Meteorological Observer, said: "We had a dramatic start to the month thanks to the exceptionally intense Storm Alex, with 60.0 mm falling on the 3rd, which was the wettest day for nearly 50 years. We measured 27 rainy days in the month, a new record for October."

The record-breaking hurricane season in the Atlantic contributed to the high rainfall total, with several ex-hurricanes passing over the UK during the month. Not surprisingly, only 70.7 hours of sunshine were recorded, an exceptionally low number for October and over 30 hours below the month's average.

The very wet October continues a year of exceptional weather in Oxford, following the sunniest May since records began. As for the coming months, David Crowhurst says that the developing La Niña weather pattern in the Tropical Pacific, while thousands of miles away, "offers the potential for a respite from the recent wet and dull weather, with an increasing probability of crisp, dry and bright winter days."

The Radcliffe Meteorological Station, managed by the School of Geography and the Environment, holds the longest series of temperature and rainfall records for one site in Britain. Daily records extend back to December 1813 for air temperature, January 1827 for rainfall, and February 1880 for sunshine.

More information about the Radcliffe Meteorological Station can be found on the SoGE website.