Maybe – just maybe – spring has arrived

Last night the thermometer stayed in double figures all night – the lowest temperature recorded here was 10.9C, and the overnight average was 11.9C making it easily the warmest night of the year so far.

We are firmly back under the influence of Atlantic weather systems, and although for the moment that means cloud, wind and rain, it really does make a pleasant change from the cold easterly airflow we had for so long. Once the ground warms up a little, things should start looking greener quite quickly.

Now, if we could just have some sunshine as well . . . .

First rain for a fortnight

Today saw the first recorded rainfall here for 16 days. There were a few spots yesterday, but not enough to be detected by the rain gauge.

Rainfall totals for both February and March this year were modest, but it’s not as dry as last year – on this date in 2012 we had yet to reach the 100mm mark, whereas our current year-to-date total is 131.6mm. It is, though, the second lowest total for this point in the year since our records began in September 2007.

March 2013 summary

Despite a promising start, with the temperature reaching 15.1C on the fifth, March 2013 was the coldest month recorded here since the big freeze of December 2010. The average temperature for March was 3.8C, around 4C below normal for the time of year and colder than February 2013 (3.9C), January 2013 (5.1C) and December 2012 (6.3C). As noted below, 14 March saw the lowest temperature recorded here since February 2012.

Although we had some cyclonic weather in the middle of the month, the main feature of March has been the influence of high pressure to our north. That has either blocked the Atlantic lows, or driven them to our south across Spain and France. A consequence of this has been cold easterly winds which have not only brought us the coldest March on record here, but also delivered heavy snow to much of the UK – we got off lightly in the south west.

The air from the east was dry, and rainfall was a modest 35.8mm. The absence of Atlantic low pressure systems has led to quiet weather – March gales were conspicuous by their absence.

The chilling of the ground this March will lead to a late spring and poor pickings for nesting birds, so keep those feeders well stocked.