Lack of sunshine in November leaves Suffolk residents feeling blue

Winter sun just appearing from behind the woods
in Woolpit - Pamela Bidwell

Winter sun just appearing from behind the woods in Woolpit - Pamela Bidwell - Credit: citizenside.com

East Anglia has just endured one of the dullest Novembers on record – and that’s official.

Winter sun in the grounds of Bury St Edmunds cathedral.

Winter sun in the grounds of Bury St Edmunds cathedral. - Credit: Gregg Brown

According to the Met Office, there were only 44.2 hours of sunshine recorded in East Anglia last month, the ninth lowest since records began in 1929.

The lowest-ever was 34.8 hours, in 1968.

And although the winter sun did make a brief appearance yesterday, health experts have warned of the potential health implications of not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight.

Last month also equalled the mildest November on record in East Anglia. An average high temperature of 12.8C (55F) equalled 2011. Seven of the top 10 include years from 2002 to 2015.

Winter sun in the grounds of Bury St Edmunds cathedral.

Winter sun in the grounds of Bury St Edmunds cathedral. - Credit: Gregg Brown


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Forecaster Chris Bell, of Weatherquest, explained: “For most of November, we were underneath the jet stream, so a lot of storms and low pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic were across northern Britain, so the mild weather associated with all that weather was to the south of those fronts.

“There was a lot of rain across Scotland and north-west England, and further south it wasn’t quite as wet but there was a lot of cloud associated with that mild, moist air coming in from the Atlantic.”

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Despite the brighter weather yesterday, Mr Bell told people to expect more of the same mild and windy weather leading up to Christmas.

He said: “Over the coming week, the pattern looks very similar to what we had in November, with mild, windy and cloudy weather, and particularly strong winds on Saturday afternoon and night, with gusts of up to 50mph.

Winter sun in the grounds of Bury St Edmunds cathedral.

Winter sun in the grounds of Bury St Edmunds cathedral. - Credit: Gregg Brown

“The pattern leading up to Christmas looks pretty windy and mild with no signs of snow, but things can change over the next three weeks.”

The bleak November comes after health experts nationwide warned that people living in Britain do not receive enough vitamin D due to the lack of sunshine.

Ipswich-based personal trainer and nutrition expert Seb Gale said: “When you think of seasonal affective disorder, you think about being cold, depressed and miserable during the winter months.

“The cause for this is likely to be a deficiency in vitamin D. To absorb enough vitamin D for four days, it would take 15 minutes of full body exposure to peak-time sun, but how many of us can say we get that during the winter months?

“The importance of vitamin D is a lot higher than many of you may think. The most common notion about vitamin D is that it contributes to strong bones, which is correct.

“But deficiencies also play a role in contributing to chronic fatigue, depression, osteoporosis, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.”

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