April showers were in short supply for the UK in 2022, according to provisional figures from the Met Office.
The UK had around a third less rainfall than its average for the month, with southern areas especially dry as high pressure dominated for much of the time. The UK continued the recent trend of dry Aprils in recent years, with an average of 48.9mm falling; this is just 68% of the long-term average. This remains wetter than just 20.6mm of rainfall in April 2021, and even the 30mm of rainfall in April 2020.
Despite a predominantly dry theme, some areas in the north and far west have got closer to long term average figures for rainfall, and even exceeded them in some isolated locations. Scotland had 92% (85.7mm) of its average rainfall, while Northern Ireland got 96% (71.4mm).
England and Wales were the driest nations of the UK, with 44% (24.7mm) and 53% (46.6mm) of their average rainfall respectively. Southern England was particularly dry, with just 36% of its average rainfall with just 19.1mm falling in the month.
Dr Mark McCarthy of the National Climate Information Centre said: “High pressure has been the prime influence of UK weather in April 2022, bringing with it a good period of calm and settled weather, especially in the south.
“Although there was some rainfall in northern areas early in the month, the Azores High helped to repel away any persistent incursions of unsettled weather at the start of the month. Later on, another high-pressure system remained dominant, but this time centred more towards Scandinavia or Iceland. What this chiefly did was create a good amount of clear skies while keeping rain away. This also resulted in the mix of above average maximum temperatures, with below average minimum temperatures overnight.”
Average maximum temperatures were widely above average for April, albeit with some slightly lower overnight temperatures.
An average maximum temperature of 12.6C for the UK stood at 0.6C more than the long-term average figure. England’s figure was 13.7C (0.6C above average), Wales 12C (0.8C above average), Scotland 10.8C (0.4C above average) and Northern Ireland 12.3C (0.3C above average).
The highest individual temperature reached in April 2022 was 23.4C on the 15th, at St James’s Park, London.
With high-pressure and clear skies the largely dominant theme for the month, minimum temperatures were subdued and slightly below average for the UK. 3.5C was the average minimum temperature, which is 0.2C lower than average.
This cool overnight theme contributed to above average levels of air frost in the UK, with an average of 5.9 days of air frost, which is more than the average for April of 4 days.
Interestingly, April 2022 had more days of air frost than February this year, which had an average of just 5.4 days. In a series from 1961, this is the sixth time that April has been frostier than either January or February, this is usually due to a mild winter month with an absence of frost. However, April 2021 holds the current record for the average amount of air frosts, with 14 days.
The Royal Horticultural Society‘s Chief Horticultural Adviser Guy Barter said: “Cold nights hold back plant growth so much flowering is delayed although tough flowers such as narcissi and bluebells last and can be enjoyed longer.
“Soil has been slow to warm up and sowing tender seeds such as runner beans, courgettes and sweetcorn is on hold for at least a fortnight.
“Fruit flowers are vulnerable to frost and it is likely that the apple and pear crop will have been affected. However in many regions garden fruit trees had little crop last year due to spring frosts and were consequently laden with blossom this year. With luck enough flowers and fruitlets will have survived to give a fair crop in 2022.”
The persistent high pressure meant a predominantly sunny picture for April, except for Scotland, which had only slightly fewer sunshine hours than average. The UK had an average of 166.1 hours of sunshine, which is 7% more than average. England led the way for sunshine hours for the nations, with an average of 185.1 hours of sunshine (13% above average), followed by Wales with 161.4 hours (2% above average), Northern Ireland with 157.1 hours (6% above average) and then Scotland with 136.9 hours (3% below average).
|Provisional April 2022||Mean temp (°C)||Sunshine (hours)||Rainfall (mm)|
|Actual||Diff from avg (°C)||Actual||% of avg||Actual||% of avg|