Early April remains dry but some rain is on the horizon

Preliminary mid-month statistics for April show the recent pattern of dry conditions has continued, particularly in the south, as high pressure has so far dominated the weather this month.

All regions in the UK, except northern Scotland, have so far experienced well under half of their average rainfall for the full month of April; the UK as a whole has had just over a quarter (26%) when compared with the average for the whole month (At the mid-month point you would normally expect to see around 57% of the full month average). The south of England has seen the least rainfall compared to its long-term average (1981–2010) with Middlesex being the historic county with the lowest rainfall volume: just 1mm.

Seven other English counties have seen only five per cent or less of the average rainfall for the whole of April so far: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. The wettest English historic county is Cumberland, where just over 20mm of rain has fallen so far this month, just over a quarter (26%) of the anticipated total for the month.

Northern Scotland is the only district with over half of its full-month average rainfall; it has received 63% of its April average so far.

Tim Legg, a climate scientist at the National Climate Information Centre, said: “The dry conditions for April so far follow a series of rather dry months through autumn and winter. For the UK as a whole it was the driest October-March period since 1995/96.”

Commenting on the dry weather, an Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Following a dry winter, some rivers, groundwaters and reservoirs are lower than normal for the time of year. We always advise that everyone use water wisely – especially during a period of dry weather – and to follow the advice of their water company should water saving measures be required. The Environment Agency, water companies, businesses and farmers are working together to minimise any potential impacts to people and the environment should the dry weather continue.”

There does look to be a break in the dry weather for the south by early next week as a stronger front looks likely to push southwards across the UK bringing the first meaningful rainfall to southern regions for around three weeks.

Alongside the low levels of precipitation, April has also seen above average sunshine hours so far with the UK already having seen 66% of its average sunshine by only halfway through the month. The sunniest region has been southern England which has had 121.1 hours of sunshine so far, three-quarters of its April average.

Mean temperatures are also above average, the UK being 1.1°C warmer than the long-term average. All regions and districts have been warmer than average with East Anglia experiencing a mean temperature 1.5°C above its long-term average.

Provisional 1-17 April 2017 data Mean temp (°C) Sunshine (hours) Rainfall (mm)
Actual  Diff from avg (°C) Actual % of avg Actual % of avg
UK 8.5 1.1 98.3 66 19.2 26
England 9.4 1.2 112.9 73 7.6 13
Wales 8.5 0.8 104.7 68 13.6 15
Scotland 7.1 1.0 78.9 58 40.2 44
N Ireland 8.4 0.8 61.8 42 17.7 24

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3 Responses to Early April remains dry but some rain is on the horizon

  1. xmetman says:

    What an odd chart, its neither one thing or another, and to my mind totally confusing. If you maintained gridded daily long-term averages, then you could then easily create a true anomaly chart for the first 17 days of April, or for that matter any variable length period of time. An anomaly chart of the last 30 days would be interesting, as would an anomaly chart of accumulated precipitation since the start of the year.

    The other thing that I notice as well is that there’s absolutely (parden the pun) no mention of a drought that occurred at a number of stations earlier this month. An absolute (or meteorological drought) is a period of 15 consecutive days with less than 0.2 mm of rain. See – http://xmetman.com/wp/2017/04/15/saturday-15-april-2017-dry-spell-hangs-on-despite-overnight-rain/

  2. xmetman says:

    10 days in moderation but who’s counting…

  3. xmetman says:

    17 days and still waiting – hello is there anyone home???

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