29th Nov 2010
Compared to the rest of the UK, Northumberland's climate may be described as dry, cool and sunny. Weather extremes which are sometimes experienced by other parts of the UK (such as droughts, floods, hurricanes, heat waves or extreme cold) are all exceptionally rare. Below, you will find more information about Northumberland's average temperature, rainfall, snow and winds.
The range of average monthly temperatures in Northumberland is between 6°C (in January and February) and 18°C (in July and August). The hottest temperature recorded at Boulmer over the last 20 years was 28.2°C (August 1990) and the coldest was -12.3°C (January 1982). In comparison to Northumberland, the average temperature in London is the same in January and February but some 4°C higher in mid-summer.
Northumberland's average total annual rainfall (as recorded at Boulmer) is 651mm with October - December being the wettest months and April - July being the driest. In comparison, the rainfall in London is only slightly less at 593mm per year whilst the west of the UK is very much wetter. For example, the average rainfall in Cardiff (Wales) is 1056mm. per year. Inland on the Cheviot Hills, there is much more rainfall than on the Northumberland coast, much of which is collected in the massive Kielder Reservoir. This has meant that whilst the County overall is one of the driest parts of the UK, it has not suffered the water shortages experienced by many other parts of England in recent years.
The snowfall in Northumberland tends to be light and is rarely prolonged except in the high hills. In an average year, it snows to some extent on 33 days a year at Boulmer with January and February being the snowiest months. However, the average number of days on which snow lies at Boulmer is only 10 days a year and this is usually only a thin covering. Road closures due to snow are very infrequent except in the high hill areas such as the A68 at Carter Bar.
Wind speeds in Northumberland are moderate and it is rare to experience gale force winds. January, May and December are the windiest months with the highest gusts reaching over 30 knots. June is the calmest month with average gusts reaching only 18 knots. July and August are also relatively calm. Sea breezes are common throughout the year and are the main reason for the cooler summers in Northumberland, compared to the south of England. These breezes can be accompanied by mists on the coast, known locally as a "sea fret" or "harr".