Winter 2013 has been the 5th mildest winter since records began in 1910 with a mean temperature average of 5.2 °C and the mildest for 6 years, as well as close to the record set in 1989 in which the average was 5.8 °C. It has also been the wettest winter since records began more than 200 years ago beating previous record set back in 1915.
The main cause for the mild and wet winter weather is that we have seen a predominance of west and south-west winds, bringing in mild air from the Atlantic, as well as unsettled and stormy conditions.
The whole of the UK has seen a warmer than average winter - typically by around 1.5 °C.
Sunshine has varied markedly across the country. Despite being so wet, South England has seen 12% more sunshine than average, while Scotland has only seen 78% of its average sunshine hours.
Even with these exceptional set of conditions, gritters were out on various occasions, an example was on the roads of Ipswich.
Even though the temperature varied between 7 and 8 °C, forecasts had predicted the road surface temperature as low as 0.5°C, below the trigger point of 1°C.
It is a fact that the surface temperature is much lower than that a metre off the ground so the teams had to rely on specialist forecasts. If they waited until they knew what the weather was it would be too late. This was proven with actual temparatures reaching to 1°C.