March winds and April showers will bring forth the May flowers

  • Early April flowers; Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images.

    Flowers doing well in the warm start to April; Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images.

    A late rainbow over the lighthouse as the sun sets; Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images.

    Four rainbows?!? Photo: Amanda Curtis (@amanda_curtis) via Twitter.

  • March winds and April showers will bring forth the May flowers
    25.04.2015 14:19

    A high pressure system over the British Isles over the last few weeks led to a dry and settled start to April with little in the way of rainfall in southern areas. Although it is not uncommon to have dry period at the start of April it has been the driest April since 2011 with the current average rainfall total at 17.5mm, although the wet conclusion to this month will skew the current stats.

    The driest April on record was in 1938 with an average rainfall total of 7.1mm. The dry conditions alongside the increasing amounts of diurnal sunshine and a warm south westerly airflow led to the warmest temperature this year with Frittenden in Kent seeing 25.1C on the 15th of April. This is the warmest April temperature since 2011. The highest temperature recorded in April was in 1949 with 29.4C recorded in Camden Square.

    The warm temperatures were not to last though, and the high pressure which created such a warm and dry start to April was brushed aside last Thursday. The clearance of the High pressure opened the door to a much cooler and more dynamic west to north-westerly flow, with lows able to track freely across the British Isles.

    For the remainder of this month low pressure systems and associated fronts look set to deliver much needed rain to parts of the country that have been dry for some time. So although the BBQs have now been put on hold in fear of being washed out, gardeners will at least be pleased with the increase of rain and showers. On Sunday 26th of April rain in the south-east England will slowly clear and apart from showers in northern parts of the UK it should remain dry and fine elsewhere. However, there will be sunny spells and further scattered showers on Monday and Tuesday with more persistent rain pushing in on Wednesday.

    The mix of sunshine and showers over the next few days will help create one of the great metrological phenomena… Rainbows. On the 21st of April one lucky New York commuter managed to capture four rainbows in one picture! In the past 250 years only 5 quaternary rainbows have been reported. The picture itself seems unlikely and there has been some degree of scepticism and the most likely answer is explained here.

    By: John Griffiths