Provisional figures up until 28 March show that most of England has had a wetter than average March but parts of Scotland have been much drier than average. In this topsy-turvy set up, figures also show that the north of the UK enjoyed warmer than average conditions for the first month of Spring.
March roared in with unsettled weather in the first 10 days, with rain at times and strong winds on 2 March resulting in Storm Jake. After that an anticyclone built over the UK, with settled weather over all areas. As is typical during Spring, when the sun is strong enough to bring warmth but the air is still cold, there were some large diurnal ranges between maximum and minimum temperatures. There were some cold nights with widespread frosts for many, but with daytime temperatures rising to the mid teens in some locations. Towards the end of the month, the two weeks of settled, high pressure conditions gave way to much more unsettled weather with Storm Katie on 28 March bringing damaging winds and a highest recorded gust of 106mph on the Isle Of Wight.
The figures up until 28 March show that temperatures across the north of the UK were a little above average in comparison to the south of the UK where it was cooler. Overnight minimum temperatures in particular across England and Wales were below the norm, with the clear skies associated with high pressure allowing temperatures to dip overnight.
Most of England has had a wetter than average March, particularly across the Midlands and some eastern districts, but on the whole, Scotland has been much drier than average. Wales has had near normal rainfall along with South West England. Sunshine has generally been around average with slightly more in South West England and less sunshine down the east coasts of England and Scotland.
The north-south split in the rainfall distribution can be explained by two wet spells of weather, one on 8-9 March and again in association with Storm Katie on the 27-28 March. Many historic counties in the south recorded wetter than average totals with some locations in the north receiving less than 60% of the typical rainfall totals for March. Kinross recorded 34.9mm rain, only 35% of the March average, whereas Northamptonshire recorded 77.6mm, 169% of average.
Please note these provisional figures, especially for rainfall and sunshine are subject to revision. Anomalies are expressed relative to the 1981-2010 averaging period.
Scotland recorded the highest UK temperature of the month at Braemar, Aberdeenshire on 17 March of 18.7C. In contrast Altnaharra, Sutherland, also in Scotland, recorded the lowest UK night time temperature of -8.1C on 10 March. Other countries in the UK recorded the following highs and lows:
England: Pershore, Hereford and Worcestershire (1 March) 15.6C and Benson, Oxfordshire (8 March) -7.1C.
Wales: Porthmadog, Gwynedd (13 March) 16.2C and Sennybridge, Powys (13 March) -4.7C
Northern Ireland: Giant’s Causeway, Antrim (12 March 15.0C) and Katesbridge, Down (18 March) -5.6C.
Nothing compared to March 1963!
According to the Met reports, it was “very wet” with “winds reaching gale force on 20 days”
This all came, of course, after the coldest winter on record!