Winter Sky by David Packman  
Online since February 2006  

About This Site
Pictures of Winchester Winchester Skyline St. Cross by Keith Black
Winchester Montage
A bit about the site
Well this is my first attempt at a website, it's taken me months to finally finish it, one of those things you keep putting off to another day. It's made mostly using Dreamweaver, which is a good package, if a little pricey :-( It's still a work in progress, I want to get all of the info into a database, so that it is possible to run queries for a particular day, a period, the 5 top values, etc. Any query would also pull up a set of weather photos for the day(s) in question. The good thing is that my new web hosting company support all this kind of stuff out of the box and provide unlimited bandwidth. Also I would like to set up a more interesting webcam, possibly with night vision and now that I have a fixed ip address allow live access to it. Finally I am working on a Natural Language Generation engine to build reports from past weather data. Anyway keep checking back for new stuff and many thanks for visiting my site.
A bit about Winchester
Winchester is a cathedral city in central southern England, there has been settlements in this area dating back to the Iron Age (evidence of hill forts in the surrounding area), at this time Winchester was a tribal centre of the Britons under the name Caer Gwent. On St Catherine's Hill a rampart and ditch made for defense by an Iron Age settlement in the 3rd century BC can still be seen.
Winchester Broadway
  Under the Romans the town, then named " Venta Belgarum - The Market Town of the Belgae" (inhabitants of Hampshire and Avon) was a city of great importance .
Winchester High Street

Above - Winchester High Street

Left - Winchester Broadway (Statue of King Alfred)

Following this period Winchester became the Anglo-Saxon capital of a larger region called Wessex, and during the 10th and 11th centuries it was in fact the capital city of England, both Alfred the Great and King Canute ruled from Winchester. Winchester Castle was built in 1067, by William the Conqueror, only a year after the Battle of Hastings. At the time, it was one of the greatest strongholds in England, and for over a century it served as the seat of government, before that position was taken by London. A medieval ‘reconstruction’ of Arthur’s Round Table is preserved in the 13th-century hall (all that now survives) of the castle.
Winchester Cathedral (built 1079–93) is the longest medieval church in Europe and was remodeled from Norman-Romanesque to Perpendicular Gothic under the patronage of William of Wykeham (founder of Winchester College in 1382), who is buried there, as are Saxon kings, St Swithin, and the writers Jane Austen and Izaak Walton. Winchester still retains some of its past influence, the City of Winchester caters to a population of over 109,000 spread across 250 square miles of land, Winchester is also the administrative centre for Hampshire County Council which serves over 1,250,000 citizens.
Winchester Cathedral
  Above - Winchester Cathedral - Christmas lighting
A bit about St. Swithin
St. Swithin, Bishop of Winchester, was born around the year 800 and died on 2nd of July 862 at Winchester (Hampshire). He was, according to records, a builder of churches in places where there were none before and a repairer of those that had been destroyed or ruined. St. Swithins wish was to be buried in the churchyard of the Old Minster (Cathedral) at Winchester, where passers by might tread on his grave and where the rain from the eaves might fall on it.

The weather lore surrounding St. Swithin's day is said to have arisen from the re internment of his body, on July 15th 971AD, from this grave outside of the Cathedral to a spectacular golden shrine within the Cathedral, having been interrupted by a very heavy rain storm.

This led to the folklore that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days, and a fine day on the 15th July will be followed by 40 days of fine weather.

St. Swithin's day, if it does rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithin's day, if it be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain no more.

There is some degree of controversy about whether there is evidence to support the rhyme. As all the research I could find was statistical in nature, the statistics seem to have been manipulated to support the authors initial conjecture. However, in general terms the weather patterns that are establishing themselves around this time tend to persist and predominate for a good number of weeks.

Meteorologically speaking, the position of the frontal zone around the end of June to early July, indicated by the position of the jet stream, determines the general weather patterns (hot, cold, dry, wet) for the rest of the summer. The frontal zone tends to 'dig in' shortly after the summer solstice.

As the path of our weather systems is controlled by the jet stream, a more southerly location of the frontal zone is likely to bring rather unsettled, wet and cool weather. On the other hand, a frontal zone shifted further to the north will help the Azores high to build over western Europe, thus bringing dry and pleasant weather to the UK.
A bit about the weather - records
These have all been taken from the Collins Gem book called "Weather - How to observe and predict the weather", this is a great little pocket book for anyone interested in learning a bit about the weather.

Driest place (official records): Quillagua, Chile, 0.5mm average yearly rainfall

Lowest mean annual rainfall: 0.1mm Pacific coast of Chile

Most intense rainfall: 38.1mm in one minute, Barst, Guadeloupe, 26th November 1970

Most rainfall in one day: 1,870mm, La Réunion, Indian Ocean, 16th March 1952

Most rainfall in one year: 26,461mm, Cherrapunji, India, 1st August 1860 to 31st July 1861

Greatest average annual rainfall: 11,783mm, Mawsynram, Meghalaya State, India

Windiest place: sustained wind speeds of up to 320km/h throughout year, Commonwealth Bay, George V Coast, Antartica

Highest recorded wind speed: 371km/h, Mt Washington, New Hampshire, USA, 20th March 1986

Highest tornado wind speed: 512km/h, Oklahoma, 3rd May 1999

Highest recorded jet-stream speed: 656km/h, above South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, 13th December 1967

Lowest recorded temperature: -89.2°C, Vostok, Antartica, 21st July 1983

Lowest temperature for a permanently inhabited place: -68°C, Oymyakon, Siberia, 1933 (unofficial subsequent record -72°C)

Lowest mean annual temperature: -58°C, Polus Nedostupnosti (Pole of Inaccessibility), Antartica

Hottest mean annual temperature: 34°C, Dallol, Ethiopia

Highest recorded temperature: 58°C, Al'Azizyah, Libya, 13th September 1922

Greatest temperature rise: 27°C (-20°C to 7°C) in two minutes!, Spearfish, South Dakota, USA, 23rd January 1943

Greatest temperature drop in one day: -56°C (from 7°C to -49°C), Browning, Montana, USA, 23rd-24th January 1916

Greatest temperature range recorded: 105°C (from -68°C to 37°C), Verkhoyansk, Siberia

Greatest annual sunshine total: 4,300hrs (97% of total possible), Eastern Sahara

Lowest surface pressure: 870mb within typhoon Tip, west of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, 12th October 1979

Highest annual number of days with thunder: 322, Bogor, Java, Indonesia, between 1917 and 1919

Highest waterspout: 1,528m off Eden, New South Wales, Australia, 16th May 1898

Deepest clouds: 20km, cumulonimbus in tropics

Largest single hailstone: 1kg, Gopalganj, Bangladesh, 14th April 1986

Largest hailstone aggregates: 3.4kg, Hyderabad, India, 1939 and 4kg, Yüwu, China, 1902

Greatest daily snowfall: 1,930mm, Silver Lake, Colorado, USA, 14th-15th April 1921

Greatest single snowfall: 4,800mm, Mt Shasta Ski Bowl, California, USA, 13th-19th February 1959

Greatest depth of snow: 11,460mm, Tamarac, California, USA, March 1911

Greatest snowfall in one year: 31,102mm, Paradise, Mt Rainier, Washington, USA, 19th February 1971 to 18th February 1972
Never base important decisions or events on data from this private weather station, which is offered as a general guide to local conditions only. Thankyou.