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Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 18:20 UK
Wild Weather: Norfolk's fascinating climate conditions

By Dr Steve Dorling
Chartered meteorologist at the University of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences and innovations director of Weatherquest Ltd

Timber circle at Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk (Photo: PA)
Norfolk's coastline experiences vast highs and lows throughout the year

Norfolk has fascinating weather, not least because of its large coastline.

It is a rather dry county, with so much of the rain passing across to the hills 'out west'.

In fact there is quite a NW-SE rainfall gradient in the county, with the Fakenham area of north west Norfolk being the wettest.

In winter and early spring, a cold northerly airstream over the North Sea can bring heavy and prolonged snow showers, especially to exposed coasts.

Watching the snow shower clouds come and go, one after the other, across the big skies of Norfolk is a real treat for cloud spotters!

Speaking of coasts, Norfolk is one of just a few counties in Britain with two coasts of different orientation.

Early summer sea breezes, from the north and east, can lead to showers (and even thunderstorms) as the systems meet up, mid-county, and force air to rise.

Norfolk's close proximity to the European continent means that during periods of sustained easterly winds, the county can, from time to time, experience a true taste of a continental climate.

Woodland off A148 between Holt and Fakenham by Tim James
Norfolk can suffer from severe cold weather in winter

It can undergo dry heat in the summer and bitter cold in the winter, always modified somewhat by the track over the North Sea.

Sandy soils in the Breckland region of south Norfolk can also lead to extremes in soil temperature.

Due to the tendency for those soils to be free draining, it heats up significantly in the day and cools down dramatically at night, which leads to a rather extreme temperature range.

Indeed the area around Thetford has as many ground frosts as much of Scotland!

In the summer, in a light to moderate south-westerly wind, Norfolk will often be the warmest place in the country as the air dries out in its passage across England and the sunshine brings its full influence to bear.

If heat isn't your thing though, just head for one of those coasts!

Wettest dayWettest Day 205 mm on 25th August 1912 at Brundall
Sunniest monthSunniest Month 318.1 hoursJuly 1976 at Cromer


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