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graphs      CLIMATE-UK.COM'S  REVIEW  OF  THE  BRITISH  METEOROLOGICAL  SCENE
     MONTHLY  SUMMARY
     No. 591         For    MARCH    2005
    COLD FIRST HALF, VERY WARM SECOND HALF.  MOSTLY DRY BUT RATHER DULL.
Text Box: With pressure building over the near continent and mobility at last established between Scotland and Iceland, a warm and moist southwest to westerly flow flooded the country between the 15th and 18th. Prolonged orographic rain affected the western highlands, Cumbria and Snowdonia with 62.4mm at Broadford (Skye) on the 15th and 58.1mm at Dalmally (Argyll) on the 17th; Dalmally collected 146.2mm between the 14th and 17th inclusive. Further east and south it became sunny and very warm although southwest-facing coasts and hills were persistently foggy. Maxima of 18-21ēC occurred widely from the 16th-19th, with 21.6ēC at Wisley (Surrey) and 21.4ēC at Trawscoed (Ceredigion) on the latter date - the highest anywhere in the UK in March since 1990 - while overnight minima were also abnormally high with 12.8ēC logged at Ballykelly (Londonderry) on the 15th/16th. The flow backed south-easterly on the 20th and eastern districts became cloudier and cooler temporarily. From the 21st to the 25th fronts crossed the UK at intervals in a mainly southerly flow, and the weather became unsettled though still warm with maxima inland typically between 14 and 18ēC. Local thunderstorms were reported on several days. From the 26th the flowed backed easterly and most districts turned cloudier and colder with hill and coastal fog in the east, and heavy rain affected northern England on the 27th and southern Scotland on the 28th. Some southern and western districts, however, stayed bright and rather warm. Rain fell more generally on the 29th and 30th, and Shobdon in Herefordshire collected 45mm in 36 hours, but the month ended with a mostly dry day.

Temperature-wise this was a month of two halves: the first half was the coldest since 1996 (in fact there has been no colder first week of March since 1971), and the second half the warmest since 1938. Over the entire month, mean temperatures were generally 0.5 to 1.5 degC above the 1971-2000 mean. It was another dry March over much of the UK, but the west and north of Scotland reported above-normal rainfall. Monthly sunshine aggregates were below the long-term mean especially in eastern districts, and locally in Yorkshire and Norfolk it was the dullest March since 1984.
Text Box: Northerly winds persisted over the UK for most of the first two weeks, but from the 14th until the 25th the prevailing flow was southwesterly or southerly, and the month ended with six days of easterlies. Mean sea-level pressure was almost uniform over the British Isles, and anomalies ranged from +0.5mbar in Cornwall to +5mbar in Shetland. On a broader scale, the Icelandic Low was displaced 1500km to the SSW of its normal position and was centred between Newfoundland and the Azores at 996mbar. The main anomaly centres were -18mbar near the Azores and +12mbar over Iceland, and an easterly anomalous flow extended from southern Scandinavia across the British Isles and the northern Atlantic to Quebec.

High pressure persisted from Greenland to mid-Atlantic until the 13th, and disturbances in the mainly northerly airflow travelled southwards across the British Isles from time to time, maintaining the cold and changeable weather. One such depression crossed England on the 1st and became slow-moving near Kent on the 2nd, bringing widespread snow which was heavy and prolonged in Kent and East Sussex; 20cm accumulated in Canterbury with 30-35cm over the North Downs to the south and west of the city. Although much of the country was dry and sunny on the 3rd there were further frequent snow showers in Kent, and the following night was very frosty in the south with -11.5ēC at Boughton-under-Blean (COL site) in Kent. By this time a southward-moving frontal system brought further rain, preceded by snow, to northern Britain, and this affected southern districts on the morning of the 4th. Hail and thunder were reported locally in the rear of this system, and wintry showers returned to eastern districts on the 5th and 6th. The next four days were rather less cold, and although most eastern, central and southern districts were cloudy with a few light showers, there were long sunny periods in the north and west. A new Arctic outbreak on the 11th and 12th delivered heavy snow showers to many parts of Scotland, but other regions were largely dry and bright. At Boltshope Park in county Durham (434m amsl) snow, 32cm deep on the 1st, lay until the 14th.
                                                                                                                                           
                       TEMPERATURE                                SUNSHINE                             RAINFALL        
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                          Highest and lowest totals                     Highest and lowest totals        
                                              on record for month    
Maximum fall in 24 hrs
   (beginning 09 h)
                    on record for month    
Days with snow or sleet
 
Days with fog
(Vis <220 yards at 09 h)
 
                                                                                         
     
Difference from average
   
Difference from average
 
Highest maximum
   
Lowest minimum
   
No. of days with grass
  minimum below 0ēC
   
Days of no sunshine
 
Maximum duration
       
First year of record
         
Days of no rainfall
 (0.1 mm or less)
         
First year of record
         
Days with thunder
     
       PLACE  
Mean Maximum
   
Mean minimum
             
No. of air frosts
       
Total for month
                   
Total for month
                   
                               
% of average
                   
% of average
                 
                                                                     
                                   
Highest
   
Lowest
 
Year
             
Highest
   
Lowest
 
Year
       
             
Date
   
Date
         
Date
         
Year
         
Date
         
Year
           
                                                                     
      ēC       ēC       ēC       ēC             Hrs       Hrs         Hrs       Hrs       mm       mm         mm     mm          
                                                                                                                                           
  *Hampstead   10.9   +0.9   03.8   +0.9   20.1   19   -04.3   04   11   08   04   09.9   19   104   104   1910   190   1995   051   1981   15   20   29   046   093   1910   134   1947   03   1929   00   06   00  
  Thorney Island   10.6   -0.6   04.2   +0.7   16.9   26   -04.4   04   11   05   06   09.4   26   099   075   1956   207   1995   073   1964   15   16   29   043   097   1941   162   1947   03   1961   00   03   02  
  *Coltishall   09.7   +0.5   03.9   +0.7   19.1   18   -05.2   04   13   04   09   08.2   23   * 057   048   1979   179   1995   059   1981   13   26   27   066   161   1964   090   2001   10   1973   01   06   00  
  *Wittering   10.2   +0.9   03.9   +1.3   17.4   18   -03.2   04   12   05   07   08.1   17   077   072   1950   197   1995   042   1984   14   04   22   025   055   1948   097   1975   08   1961   00   05   00  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   10.2   +0.6   03.8   +0.9   17.6   19   -03.7   04   11   09   08   09.7   26   094   081   1952   177   1955   057   1984   19   29   29   061   120   1946   149   1981   02   1961   00   04   00  
  Ross-on-Wye   11.2   +0.9   04.1   +1.0   19.0   18   -03.0   07   11   05   07   09.7   18   094   087   1915   188   1929   054   1996   16   32   30   070   138   1859   177   1947   <01   1938   00   03   00  
  *St Athan   10.4   +0.7   04.7   +1.1   17.0   19   -02.2   04   10   05   10   10.9   26   079   066   1954   174   2003   067   1996   13   17   29   048   074   1954   159   1981   13   1961   00   01   02  
  St Mawgan   10.8   +0.7   05.7   +0.8   17.4   20   -01.1   06   08   02   02   10.8   19   115   087   1944   196   1955   074   1992   15   13   28   048   060   1945   171   1947   04   1944   00   01   02  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   09.9   +0.7   04.6   +1.6   18.2   18   -02.0   03   10   07   04   09.1   18   081   080   1887   215   1893   041   1960   16   19   29   049   076   1887   172   1947   04   1929   00   04   00  
  Valley   10.6   +0.7   05.5   +1.0   20.3   20   -02.8   06   06   03   04   10.5   19   115   088   1946   196   1955   076   1998   12   15   30   043   078   1941   152   1981   13   1990   00   01   00  
  *Woodford   10.6   +1.3   04.0   +1.4   18.0   19   -03.7   13   11   09   05   08.1   06   058   054   1945   169   1948   052   1983   16   08   14   035   068   1942   139   1981   13   1944   00   03   00  
  *Watnall   09.8   +0.5   04.3   +1.7   16.2   24   -01.4   06   10   05   07   07.8   06   057   053   1948   179   1995   045   1984   14   07   25   033   071   1942   143   1947   06   1961   00   05   00  
                                                                     
  Leeming   10.1   +0.7   04.0   +1.3   17.2   25   -04.0   06   12   05   07   08.9   06   062   061   1945   164   1995   036   1996   17   20   27   039   089   1945   113   1947   03   1953   00   04   00  
  *Boulmer   09.1   +0.4   04.2   +1.9   16.2   23   -00.7   06   12   04   08   07.5   06   059   053   1945   178   1997   031   1964   13   16   27   066   133   1945   119   1947   08   1953   00   04   01  
  Eskdalemuir   08.6   +1.0   02.6   +1.7   15.9   20   -04.1   08   13   09   11   09.0   08   077   087   1911   185   1929   044   1936   11   25   14   097   090   1911   282   1989   17   1944   00   07   01  
  *Bishopton   10.0   +0.6   03.9   +1.4   15.2   24   -04.0   06   14   07   09   10.2   08   084   088   1921   155   2003   039   1936   06   20   14   089   137   1921   180   1994   17   1969   00   04   00  
                                                                     
  Leuchars   09.5   +0.6   03.8   +1.3   16.7   17   -02.8   08   13   06   12   09.5   06   113   101   1922   187   1929   049   1964   14   14   28   050   122   1922   103   1958   07   1973   00   04   02  
  Dyce   08.5   +0.2   03.8   +1.9   16.7   17   -03.1   06   11   03   11   09.6   23   088   084   1941   192   2003   030   1964   09   09   29   051   093   1941   127   1958   07   1953   00   06   01  
  *Stornoway   09.0   +0.4   04.3   +1.0   13.3   19   -01.8   13   12   04   06   10.6   28   087   077   1880   172   1911   055   1938   06   23   15   097   121   1943   206   1990   19   1969   01   03   00  
  *Aldergrove   10.3   +0.6   04.7   +1.6   15.3   16   -03.6   06   10   03   04   08.8   06   089   086   1927   181   1929   053   1996   13   08   14   040   080   1927   122   1940   09   1953   00   01   00  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                           
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's   * New low record for March    
  sunshine figures are from a nearby site.