First rain for a fortnight

This morning we recorded the first rain for over a fortnight, with 0.2mm falling between 0800 and 1000. That isn’t going to keep the garden going for long, nor does it add much to this April’s total – just 4.6mm at the time of typing, and we’re two-thirds of the way through the month. With high pressure never far away humidity has been low too, so the ground has dried out and gardeners are having to provide their own April showers.

I checked to see whether we have seen other months when the first 20 days have been so dry, and there are two – September 2007 (2.8mm at this point in the month), and July 2013 (0.6mm). Both of those months ended with totals in the mid-20s, but the record-holder is May 2010 when we recorded just 12.4mm of rain for the whole month.

There’s plenty of time for things to change before the end of April, but forecasts suggest it will remain dry for a while yet. That May 2010 record could be beaten this month.

March 2017 summary

This Spring is off to a warm start, with an average temperature for March of 9.1C – about 2C above normal, and the warmest March we have recorded since the station was set up in 2007. The previous record holder was March 2012 which averaged 8.7C.

There was no dominant feature of March’s weather, with Atlantic lows and high pressure systems both in evidence at various times during the month. Low pressure was in charge for the first week so we had a run of showers and some breezy days, notably on the 5th when a rapidly-developing low over the midlands produced a 40kt gust during the afternoon. The following day was much quieter with the UK in a col, but a low pressure system over the Bay of Biscay brought 120mph winds to Brittany.

High pressure arrived to our south on the 9th to bring some pleasant Spring sunshine once morning mist had cleared, but it was short-lived and the Atlantic lows were back on the 11th. Although this meant a good deal of cloud, we were in a warm airstream with above-average temperatures for mid-March.

A second high pressure system arrived to the south of the UK on the 15th bringing another settled spell, but again it moved off quite quickly and we were soon back to breezy and showery weather with 12mm of rain overnight on the 21st/22nd. The only air frost of the month was during a clear spell early on the 23rd, but it was short-lived and the temperature only fell to -0.3C – the highest March minimum we have seen.

The third high pressure system of the month formed over the UK late on the 23rd, and with the centre of the high to our north we were in a dry and chilly north-easterly breeze – which rather took the edge off the warmth from the sunshine.

This high moved off east on the 28th, and March ended with a complex series of low pressure systems bringing very mild air up from the south Atlantic, with a temperature of 18.4C recorded on the 30th.

Rainfall came to 49.2mm which is close to average, so the only exceptional feature of March was the warmth – not just from the sunny spells but also the warm southerly airstreams.