There are three main types of rainfall

There are three main types of rainfall:
Frontal rain
Frontal rain occurs when two air masses meet. When a warm air mass meets a cold air mass, they don’t mix as they have different densities. Instead, the warm less dense air is pushed up over the cold dense air creating the ‘front’.
As a result, the warm less dense air cools, and the water vapor condenses into water and falls as raindrops.
This type of rain can happen anywhere in the UK.
Orographic rain
Orographic rain is produced as a result of clouds formed from the topography – or shape – of the land. Where there is high ground moist air is forced upwards producing cloud and potentially, precipitation.
Mountainous areas close to prevailing westerly winds are most likely to experience this type of rainfall. The geography of the UK means that this type of rainfall is most common in the north and west of the UK where warm moist air from the Atlantic cools as it is forced upwards over high altitudes.
Convective rain
Convective rain is produced by convective cloud. Convective cloud is formed in vertical motions that result from instability of the atmosphere. One way that the atmosphere can become unstable is by heating from the sun. The ground warms up, causing moisture in the ground to evaporate and rise, and the hot ground also heats the air above it. As the water vapor rises, it cools and condenses into clouds and eventually rain.
When you heat the air from below like this, much like in a boiling kettle, you tend to get “bubbles” of rising air, known as up draughts. These are much smaller than the large-scale lifting of air that occurs at fronts and over mountain ranges. This tends to give us smaller areas of rain, with clear spells in between, commonly referred to in the UK as “sunshine and showers”.
This type of rainfall is most common in the south and east of the UK, where it is typically warmer. This area is also prone to very heavy showers and thunderstorms, this is because the warmer air can hold more water.
Sometimes, you can get all three types of rain at once, and this can lead to severe flooding.

Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall
for United Kingdom from 1901-2015
It is important to evaluate how climate has varied and changed in the past. The monthly mean historical rainfall and temperature data can be mapped to show the baseline climate and seasonality by month, for specific years, and for rainfall and temperature. The chart above shows mean historical monthly temperature and rainfall for United Kingdom during the time period 1901-2015. The dataset was produced by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of University of East Anglia (UEA).

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UK weather conditions
The British weather can be quite erratic and conditions regularly change from day to day, whatever the season.
Below you can find which weather conditions the UK faces, and when and how often they happen.
Rain in UK
There is a stereotypical view of UK that it rains all the time. Whilst this can seem true when it begins to rain in the middle of June just as you have packed your bags to spend a day on the beach, for many parts of the UK it is actually a complete myth. This is due to the huge difference in amount of rainfall different parts of the country receive.
As a general rule, the further west and the higher the land the more rain will fall. For example, the mountains of Wales and Scotland and the moors of South West England can see as much as 4,577 millimeters (180.2 in) of rainfall each year, making them some of the wettest locations in Europe.
In contrast, London, for example, gets just 650 mm (25.6 in) on average per year, which is less than Rome, Sydney and New York. This erratic rainfall has meant that in recent years the UK has suffered from a number of both floods and droughts in certain areas.
Snow in UK
The British have a strange relationship with snow. Most areas rarely get much of it, but when they do people seem to go mad. It is on every news channel, in every newspaper and is all that anyone seems to talk about. Transport links close down, roads shut, children can’t get to school and workers can’t get to their offices. This causes half the population (mainly the younger half) to love the snow as they go sledging, have snow ball fights and build snow men (just like the one on the right), whilst the other half are simply frustrated by it.
Snow is far more likely to fall the further north or east you get in the UK. For example, many areas of Scotland get heavy snow every year (there are even five ski resorts in the Scottish mountains!), whilst the south coast of England almost never gets and considerable amount. However, there are exceptions to this rule, when some winters bring heavy snow to the whole of UK (as happened in the winter of 2009-10).
Wind in UK

The fact that the UK is so close to a large ocean to its west (the North Atlantic) means that it regularly experiences quite strong winds, whilst rarely faces extreme hurricanes or tornadoes.
Gales (winds with speeds of 51-101 km/h) are common in some areas of UK. The Hebrides (a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland) for example, experience on average 35 days of gale a year, whilst many inland areas of England experience less than 5 on average.
The highest wind ever recorded in UK was 191 km/h (119 mph) in Cornwall on the south west coast of England in 1979.
Guide to the UK season
Although the seasonal differences in UK are not as extreme as in some countries, there is still a large difference between winter and summer. The year is split into four seasons roughly each 3 months long, though the weather in UK can be very erratic and so the seasons often overlap or don’t follow the standard pattern.
Below you can find the general weather conditions of each season in England. All the stats are based on Met Office (the UK’s main source of information about weather) averages from 1971-2000. All the statistics are only rough ideas as conditions can vary hugely even within England.

Winter (December to February)
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Average Minimum/Maximum Temperatures: 6.6oC- 7.4oC
Average Min/Max Daylight Hours: 8-9 hours
Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): 78 mm
Winter is the coldest month in the UK, running roughly from December to February (although November can often suffer very wintry conditions too). Temperatures often get as low as freezing point (0oC), though not too much colder usually. This leads to frost in the mornings, ice on car windscreens and roads, and sometimes snow fall. British winters are usually very wet and windy as well, so make sure you wrap up warm and waterproof. To add to the miserable weather, the hours of daylight are very short during the winter, with days in London getting as short as 8 hours at the end of December.

Spring (March to May)
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Average Min/Max Temperatures: 9.3oC- 15.4oC
Average Min/Max Daylight Hours: 11-15 hours
Average Min/Max Rainfall (mm): 60 mm
Spring in the UK is all about new life springing up after the harsh conditions of winter. From March (roughly), the temperatures start to get warmer, frosts get less frequent and the days start to get longer. This brings with it plants shooting up all over the country, trees regaining their leaves and animals giving birth. However, spring is often still quite wet and windy in UK, so don’t crack out the sunglasses and flip flops too early.

Summer (June to August)
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Average Min/Max Temperatures: 18.1oC- 20.6oC
Average Min/Max Daylight Hours: 16 hours – 16 hours 30 mins
Average Min/Max Rainfall (mm): 61 mm
In theory summer in the UK should be hot and dry. In practice it is only hot in spells and it still rains quite a bit most summers. It is best to think of it as a way of making the hot days feel more special. On such days, temperatures can reach 30oC, though not much higher, and the British public make the most of it. People swarm to beaches, sit out in parks and generally revel in the hot temperatures. This is matched by the increased hours of daylight which reach almost 17 hours in London in mid-June.

Autumn (September to November)
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Average Min/Max Temperatures: 17.5oC- 9.5oC
Average Min/Max Daylight Hours: 10-14 hours
Average Min/Max Rainfall (mm): 81 mm
Autumn marks the gradual change from summer to winter and is probably the season with the biggest range in weather conditions. Septembers and even Octobers in UK can often still be summery, recently even recording higher temperatures than August. Equally, Novembers can be very cold, and the UK sometimes even experiences widespread snow fall (like in 2010). In general, it is usually quite wet and windy in autumn though it is so variable that one year after another, autumns can seem like different seasons.
Below you can see the sunrise and sunset in London today, to give you an idea of the daylight hours.

UK’s rainiest cities
UK has long been stigmatized as a rainy nation, but which cities in our green and sodden land are actually the rainiest?
Despite being known as the “rainy city”, Manchester comes in eighth for the average amount of rainfall per year (in centimeters) it experiences with 86.71cm.
It is one of six northern towns in the UK to feature in the top 10, with 37 of our nation’s great cities listed in the survey.
Topping the table is the Welsh capital of Cardiff with 115.19cm while London sits at the bottom with less than half that much at 55.74cm, making it the driest city in the UK.
How much snow do we get in the UK each year?
The UK gets on average 23.7 days of snow fall or sleet a year (1981 – 2010). Most of this is snow falling on higher ground where temperatures are lower, as can be seen on the maps below.
Where gets the most snow?
In Scotland, the figure is much higher, with snow or sleet falling on 38.1 days on average. Statistically, the snowiest place in the UK is the Cairngorms in in Scotland, with 76.2 days of snow or sleet falling on average. Cornwall is the least likely to get snow, with an average of only 7.4 days of snow or sleet falling a year.
How much snow settles?
Much of this snow fall does not settle, and the figures for snow on the ground (snow lying) are much lower. On average across the UK there’s only 15.6 days a year when snow is on the ground, compared to 26.2 days in Scotland. Again, most of the snow on the ground can be found in mountainous areas.
Thick fog blankets UK cities
Thick fog across much of UK caused travel disruptions on Monday with 10 percent of flights cancelled from London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport.
The Met Office said the fog could reduce visibility to less than 100 metres.
Heathrow said around 45 flights had been cancelled, while London City, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Glasgow, Belfast, and Cardiff airports all reported delays.
In foggy conditions, airports have to switch to radar and “low visibility procedures” to ensure aircraft can taxi, takeoff and land safely.
Why do some places get more rain than places in UK?
The map shows a clear divide between the north-west and south-east of the UK. The prevailing warm moist westerly winds mean that the west of the UK is more likely to receive rainfall from Atlantic weather systems – in the form of frontal rainfall. These weather systems usually move from west to east across the UK and as they do so the amount of rainfall they deposit reduces.
This is because the mountains of the northern and western UK force the prevailing westerly winds to rise, which cools the air and consequently enhances the formation of cloud and rain in these locations (this is known as orographic enhancement). Of course, frontal and orographic rainfall are not the only rainfall mechanisms, but they are the most common in the UK.

Drivers and impacts of the seasonal weather in the UK
March 2014 – The UK has seen a run of seasonal weather over recent years that has had impacts and led to disruption across the country. The question for climate science is whether this seasonal weather is only part of the natural variability we expect, or if there is any connection to our changing climate. This synthesis paper investigates the role of natural variability and climate change in shaping these seasons.
The UK has just experienced an exceptionally wet winter. Overall England and Wales have experienced their wettest January and winter season (December to February) since records began in 1766. The winter of 2013/14 is the latest in a run of seasonal weather that has had large impacts on the UK and across Europe over recent years, for example the cold winter of 2010/11, the wet summer of 2012 and the cold spring of 2013. This paper looks at recent examples in the context of seasons that are too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry.

In September 2013 Working Group I (WGI) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its 5th Assessment Report (AR5). It concluded that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. This paper focuses on what this means for the UK and addresses the question of what the role of climate change and natural variability is in extreme seasons.

Research shows that when viewed over long-term averages, the UK is expected to see more frequent milder, wetter winters and more frequent hotter, drier summers in the future. The role of human influence on our climate is already detectable on summertime heat waves. But the UK has seasonal weather that also varies hugely from year to year due to natural processes.

Further research is urgently needed to deliver robust detection of changes in storminess and daily/hourly rain rates. The topics considered here represent substantial scientific challenges but new observing systems and higher resolution computational models of the climate system coming online now are providing new insights that promise progress and the continuing improvement of UK adaptation advice.
How much does it rain in the UK?
As can be seen in the map below, the wettest parts of the UK are concentrated in mountainous regions with observation sites in Snowdonia, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands all receiving more than 4 metres of rainfall in a year.

Other rainy parts of the UK include:
• North west England – especially the Lake District in Cambria and western facing slopes of the Pennines.
• Western and central Wales – particularly the mountainous Snowdonia region in the north.
• South west England – mainly the higher elevation areas of Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin moor.
• Parts of Northern Ireland.
These areas all have common characteristics, given their high elevations (or even mountainous status) and their northern or western locations in the UK.

Area Rainfall (mm)
1 Argyllshire 2274.9
2 Dunbartonshire 2066.5
3 Inverness 2034.8
4 Merionethshire 1914.0
5 Ross and Cromarty 1858.1
6 Carnarvonshire 1809.7
7 Buteshire 1771.2
8 Kirkcudbrightshire 1696.7
9 Westmorland 1652.6
10 Brecknockshire 1643.7

Why do some places get more rain than others?
The map shows a clear divide between the north-west and south-east of the UK. The prevailing warm moist westerly winds mean that the west of the UK is more likely to receive rainfall from Atlantic weather systems – in the form of frontal rainfall. These weather systems usually move from west to east across the UK and as they do so the amount of rainfall they deposit reduces.
This is because the mountains of the northern and western UK force the prevailing westerly winds to rise, which cools the air and consequently enhances the formation of cloud and rain in these locations (this is known as orographic enhancement). Of course, frontal and orographic rainfall are not the only rainfall mechanisms, but they are the most common in the UK.

Ref: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/precipitation/rain/how-much-does-it-rain-in-the-uk

United Kingdom Average Precipitation 1901-2018
Precipitation in the United Kingdom increased to 224.90 mm in December from 185.78 mm in November of 2015. Precipitation in the United Kingdom averaged 98.68 mm from 1901 until 2015, reaching an all-time high of 233.08 mm in November of 2009 and a record low of 11.23 mm in February of 1932.

United Kingdom Average Precipitation
This page includes a chart with historical data for the United Kingdom Average Precipitation. United Kingdom Average Precipitation – actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases – was last updated on June of 2018.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
224.90 185.78 233.08 11.23 1901 – 2015 mm Monthly

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