Weather review of March 2011

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  • Weather review of March 2011
    05.04.2011 13:18

     

    The main features of the month were:

     

    • Driest March over England & Wales since 1990
    • No measurable rain for 33 days (to March 29) in Cambridge area
    • Heavy snow upland Scotland 9th-13th

     

    The first week was rather cold over the UK, and the cold weather continued during the second week over northern regions with some heavy falls of snow over high ground. By contrast it became appreciably warmer in southern districts, and for much of the second half of the month the weather was settled with rather warm days and rather cold nights. During the last three days of March it became much less settled.

    Mean maximum temperature for March ranged from 12.5°C at Otterbourne, near Winchester (Hants) to 6.4°C at Lerwick (Shetland), while mean minimum temperature varied between 7.0°C at St Mary's (Isles of Scilly) and minus 0.4°C at Katesbridge (Co Down). Mean maximum temperature was slightly below the 1971-2000 norm locally in northern and western Scotland, but 1.0-1.5degC above in some eastern, central and southern parts of England. Mean minimum temperature was 0.0 to 1.0 degC below the long-term normal in all regions. The Central England Temperature (CET) of 6.9°C was 0.5degC above the long-term mean, the highest for March since 2009. In the last 100 years  30 Marches were warmer while 70 were colder.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

    The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop and mountain sites) in the UK was 19.6°C at both Chivenor (Devon) and Charlwood (Surrey) on the 25th, while the lowest minimum was minus 7.5°C at Braemar (Aberdeenshire) early on the 18th. The lowest daytime maximum was minus 0.5°C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire) on the 12th, and the warmest night was that of the 30th/31st with a minimum of 10.6°C at both St Mary's (Isles of Scilly) and Chivenor (Devon).

    Rainfall averaged over England and Wales (including a small estimated figure for the 31st) during March was 23mm which is 31 per cent of the average for the standard reference period 1971-2000, the highest in March since 1990;  in the last 100 years only six Marches were drier while 94 were wetter. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 70mm and 103 per cent of the normal amount, and for Northern Ireland 40mm and 61 per cent. Monthly totals at routinely-available sites ranged from 170mm at Kinlochewe (Wester Ross) to 2mm at Cambridge.

    Sunshine averaged over England and Wales (including an estimated figure for the 31st) during March was 149 hours which is 131 per cent of the 1971-2000 mean, the highest since 2009; in the last 100 years only 13 Marches were sunnier while 87 were duller.  The equivalent figures for Scotland were 107 hours and 105 per cent, and for Northern Ireland 137 hours and 125 per cent.  Largest total in the UK was 199 hours at Weymouth (Dorset) and the smallest was 63 hours at Kirkwall (Orkney).

     

    Regional Breakdown

     

    Difference from the average (1971-2000)

    Mean Max

    (deg C)

    Mean Min

    (deg C)

    Rainfall

    (per cent)

    Sunshine

    (per cent)

     

     

     

     

     

    Scotland (Highlands and Islands)

      0.0

      0.0

    86

    116

     

     

     

     

     

    Scotland - Central Belt and east coast

    +0.5

    +0.1

    120

    93

     

     

     

     

     

    Northeast England

    +1.2

    +0.1

    51

    140

     

     

     

     

     

    East Anglia

    +1.0

    –0.8

    15

    122

     

     

     

     

     

    Midlands

    +0.9

    –0.9

    17

    123

     

     

     

     

     

    Southeast England

    +0.9

    –0.2

    24

    132

     

     

     

     

     

    Northwest England and North Wales

    +1.2

    –0.1

    61

    130

     

     

     

     

     

    Southwest England and South Wales

    +1.3

    –0.1

    30

    134

     

     

     

     

     

    Northern Ireland

    +0.3

    –1.2

    61

    125

     

     

     

     

     

    IrishRepublic

    +0.4

    –0.8

    45

    129

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ©Philip Eden 110331