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WEATHER: Choosing Pembrokeshire

Move to Wales? But what about the weather? How does the weather in the southern most coastal regions of S.E and S.W England compare with Pembrokeshire in the S.W of Wales as a work, holiday, boat location or retirement region?

Before I made my own decision to move to Pembrokeshire, one of the factors I investigated was a claim made by Waterfront Wales Magazine that "Dale Peninsula is one of the sunniest spots in Britain". And where better to start than with an analysis of the Met Office statistics. I ordered two of their publications, one for England and one for Wales.

Windy

Gales abound for up to 30 days a year in S.W Wales. Plymouth has only half that many days of gales. Even less at Heathrow as flights are likely to be delayed due to gales for and average of only one-day a year. So for 8% of the year it's going to be blowing an absolute hoolie in the more exposed parts of Pembrokeshire.

This was the only real downside to the weather in Pembrokeshire that I could find. However, looking on the upside, I discovered that strong winds make for more sunshine and that they represented an ideal opportunity to dust off the cobwebs of my short windsurfing board! In fact, I reckon that strong south westerlies will also create bigger swells for bigger waves at one of the many nearby surfing beaches.

Temperatures

Maximum Temperatures
Average daily maximum temperatures in January are 9°C Vs a chillier 7°C in the S.E and S.W of England. Only the coast around Penzance is able to match the Pembrokeshire averages. Average daily maximum temperatures in July for Pembrokeshire are 20°C Vs 21°C in the Solent and between 18 and 20°C around the coasts of Devon and Cornwall

Minimum Temperatures
Average daily minimum temperatures in January are 4°C Vs 3°C in the S.E of England and 4°C in Devon and Cornwall. Average daily minimum temperatures in June are 13°C, which is about the same as the whole of the S.E and S.W of England.

So despite not being as far South as S.W England, Pembrokeshire in Wales seemed to achieve comparatively high average temperatures. It seems this is most likely achieved because S.W Wales enjoys the full benefit of the warm Atlantic Gulf Stream. And this in turn means warmer seas for all-year-round watersports activities.

Sunshine

Pembrokeshire enjoys an average of 7.5 hours sunshine per day in June, which is right up with the sunniest spots in S.E England, namely the Isle of Wight, Brighton, Portland and Newquay. In December, S.W Wales enjoys an average of 1.75 hours of sunshine per day. In comparison, the vast proportion of the S.E and S.W of England are about the same.

Similarly, the visibility average in Pembrokeshire seems as good as or better than the rest of the UK and is generally assisted by the lower level of air pollution. So, Pembrokeshire is indeed a comparatively warm and sunny place to live (compared to the rest of the southern UK, that is!).

Rain

Ah, but what of the famous Welsh rain? Well Dale on the Pembrokeshire coast gets an average of only 829mm per year Vs 982mm in Plymouth. Southampton gets only a slightly better result at 755mm per annum.

So why do we think it is so much wetter in Wales? The explanation may be that further inland, in Cwmystwyth, the sheep have to contend with a staggering 1749mm of rainfall in a typical year, this is by far the highest recorded by the Met Office over the whole of England and Wales.

Snow

Ok, so if it doesn't rain more in Pembrokeshire, surely it gets more snow? With its average of four days a year, it snows for a couple of days more than in Plymouth. But it doesn't get anything like as much as Lynham (ten days) or Gatwick (nine days).

Conclusion

Compared to the best venues in the S.E and S.W of England, Pembrokeshire, Wales is generally as warm, or warmer and sunnier. It enjoys less rainfall than Plymouth and a lot less than the mountainous regions in Wales which were responsible for giving us the impression that the whole of Wales would be wet

So, with such unexpected advantages to the overall climate, the decision to move to Pembrokeshire is a "breeze"!

Author: Alastair Pollard
Source: Met Office statistics for England and Wales 1961-1990
(available at £4 each). Tel 01344 856 698. Internet: http://www.meto.gov.uk/