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UK Lookback - April 01, 2014
March Lookback
Dry, warm and sunny

By Philip Eden


The pressure pattern for March 2014 was much more "normal" than any of the three winter months, with pressure ranging from 1mbar below average in the Western Isles to 1mbar above average in East Anglia and Southeast England. March was drier, warmer and sunnier than average, but rather less so than March 2012 which was a truly exceptional month.


Mean maximum temperature during March ranged from 14.5°C at Kew Gardens and St James's Park (both in London) to 7.2°C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire), while mean minimum temperature varied between 7.4°C at St Mary's (Isles of Scilly) and 1.3°C at Cromdale (Morayshire). Mean maxima ranged from close to normal in Northern Ireland to 3.0 degC above the 1981-2010 normal in East Anglia, while mean minima were between 0.0 and 1.5 degC above average in all parts of the country. The Central England Temperature (CET) of 7.6°C was 1.0 degC above the long-term mean; this was the warmest March only since 2012, but in the last 100 years only 11 Marches were warmer, two had the same mean temperature, while 87 were colder.


The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop and mountain sites) in the UK was 20.9°C recorded at St James's Park (London) and Lynford (Norfolk) on the 30th, while the lowest minimum was minus 6.8°C at Redesdale Camp (Northumberland) on the 24th. The lowest daytime maximum was 2.3°C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire) on the 21st, while the warmest night was that of the 29th/30th with a minimum of 12.0°C at Porthmadog (Gwynedd).


Rainfall averaged over England and Wales during March was 46mm which is 64 per cent of the average for the standard reference period 1981-2010; this was the lowest March rainfall since 2012 and 28 Marches in the last 100 years have been drier. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 79mm and 108 per cent of the normal amount, and for Northern Ireland 63mm and 104 per cent. Monthly totals at routinely-available sites ranged from 352mm at Cluanie Inn (Wester Ross) and the low figure of 10mm at Boulmer (Northumberland). The heaviest daily fall was 79mm on the 19th at Cluanie Inn (Wester Ross) and over the 3-day period 18th-20th 145mm fell there.


Sunshine averaged over England and Wales during March was 157 hours which is 135 per cent of the 1981-2010 mean, making this the sunniest March since 2012. In the last 100 years, just 12 Marches were sunnier and 88 were duller. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 129 hours and 121 per cent, and for Northern Ireland 120 hours and 103 per cent. Largest total in the UK was 198 hours at Norwich airport (Norfolk), and the smallest was 86 hours at Eskdalemuir (Dumfriesshire).


Strongest winds during March occurred on the 7th with gusts to 65 knots at Fair Isle (between Orkney and Shetland).


By Philip Eden


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