March weather review

  • A man walks along a snowy road in Leeds, Yorkshire. Picture by: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

    Icicles hang from a statue in Trafalgar Square. Picture by: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

    Farmer Gareth Wyn Jones begins digging through 8 feet of snow after one of his sheepdogs, Cap, picked up the scent of a sheep that had been trapped for four days beneath snow on his farm in Llanfairfechan, North Wales. Picture by: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

    Mass power cuts occurred in Kintyre when two transmission pylons were toppled by heavy sheets of ice and snow. Picture by: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

    Joggers take a route alongside large snow drifts which still remain on the roads near Holme Moss on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Picture by: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

    A cyclist braves the snow near Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales. Picture by: John Giles/PA Wire

  • March weather review
    31.03.2013 14:41

    The main features of the month were:

    •    Coldest March since 1962
    •    Frequent occasionally heavy snow, especially on 22nd/23rd
    •    Dullest March over England and Wales since 2005

    This was the most easterly March – by some margin – in 141 years of records. There was a brief warm spell around the 5th/6th, otherwise temperatures were consistently below the long-term average. It was a very dry month in northern and western Scotland, but rather wet in southeast England and in Northern Ireland. Sunshine duration was near average in northern and western Scotland but was well below the average in East Anglia and southeast England.

    Mean maximum temperature during March ranged from 8.3°C at St Mary's (Isles of Scilly) to 2.7°C at both Fylingdales (North Yorks) and Emley Moor (West Yorks), while mean minimum temperature varied between 5.4°C at St Mary's and minus 3.4°C at Braemar. Daytime temperatures ranged from 2.5 degC below the 1981-2010 normal in northern Scotland to 4.5 degC below over most of eastern, central and southern England. Night-time temperatures were 2.5-3.5 degC below in all parts of the UK. The Central England Temperature (CET) of 3.0°C was 3.6 degC below the long-term mean  –  the lowest in March since 1962. In the last 100 years one March was colder while 99 were warmer.

    The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop and mountain sites) in the UK was 17.5°C recorded at Trawsgoed (Ceredigion) on the 5th, while the lowest minimum was minus 12.9°C at both Kinbrace (Sutherland) and Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) early on the 11th. The lowest daytime maximum was minus 3.3°C at Lake Vyrnwy (Montgomeryshire) on the 24th, while the warmest night was that of the 7th/8th  with a minimum of 10.0°C at Bude (Cornwall).

    Rainfall averaged over England and Wales (including a very small estimated figure for the 31st) during March was 73mm which is 102 per cent of the average for the standard reference period 1981-2010. Averaged nationally it was significantly wetter than the Marches of 2012 and 2011 and it was actually the wettest March since 2008; in the last 100 years 38 Marches were wetter while 62 were drier. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 39mm and 62 per cent of the normal amount, and for Northern Ireland 68mm and 115 per cent.  Monthly totals at routinely-available sites varied between 182mm at Killowen (Co Down) and 12mm at Fair Isle (between Orkney and Shetland). The heaviest daily fall was 58mm on the 21st at Plymouth (Devon), but 83mm fell at Killowen in the 48h period 21st-22nd.

    Sunshine averaged over England and Wales (including an estimated figure for the 31st) during March was 88 hours which is 76 per cent of the 1981-2010 mean, making this the dullest March since 2005. In the last 100 years, 15 Marches were duller while 85 were sunnier. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 107 hours and 100 per cent, and for Northern Ireland 105 hours and 95 per cent.  Largest total in the UK was 145 hours at Tiree (Inner Hebrides) and the smallest was 55 hours at Charlwood (Surrey) and Reading (Berkshire).

    Strongest winds during March occurred on the 21st with gusts to 65 knots at Camborne (Cornwall).

    Regional Breakdown

    Difference from the average (1981-2010)

    Mean Max

    (deg C)

    Mean Min

    (deg C)


    (per cent)


    (per cent)






    Scotland (Highlands and Islands)










    Scotland - Central Belt and east coast










    Northeast England










    East Anglia




















    Southeast England










    Northwest England and North Wales










    Southwest England and South Wales










    Northern Ireland




















    Phillip Eden 130331