back
graphs CLIMATE-UK.COM'S REVIEW OF THE BRITISH METEOROLOGICAL SCENE
MONTHLY SUMMARY
No. 627 For MARCH 2008
RATHER COLD AT TIMES WITH FREQUENT RAIN; NOTABLY COLD SPELL OVER EASTER
Text Box: In the wake of the depression a northerly flow became established but a temporary rise in pressure meant that the period 17th-19th was cold and quite sunny with night frosts, while snow and hail showers were confined to eastern counties. Ronaldsway (Isle of Man) measured 11.1h of bright sunshine on the 17th, while Tulloch Bridge (Lochaber) fell to -7.0C early on the 19th. A deepening depression tracked from Iceland past Shetland to Denmark during the 20th bringing some rain, strong winds, and temporary rise in temperature (up to 15.0C at Leuchars), but in the rear of the depression northerly winds returned with renewed vigour. The Easter holiday (21st-24th) was one of the coldest on record with sharp night frosts and widespread snow and hail showers, although amounts of snow were mostly slight. It was windy on the 21st and 22nd with a gust of 70kn at Langdon Bay (Kent) on the latter date, but winds subsequently subsided. On the 24th the temperature remained below zero all day at a few sites in the highlands, notably at Braemar (Aberdeenshire) where the maximum that day was -0.9C, and early on the 26th the mercury sank to -11.4C at Braemar and to   -11.1C at Altnaharra (Sutherland). Milder but changeable and rather windy weather returned for the last few days of the month, and all areas had outbreaks of rain. The 30th was rather warm with long sunny spells but also isolated thunderstorms, and Howden (East Yorkshire) reported a high of 15.1C.

Mean maximum temperatures were 0.0-1.0degC below the 1971-2000 normal in most regions, but mean minima were within 0.5 degC of the normal. In northern Scotland, though, both values were 1.0-1.5degC below. The months absolute maximum of 15.4C was lower than Februarys; the last time this happened was in 1998. It was a rather wet month generally, and rainfall percentages approached 200 locally in western Scotland, southeast England and East Anglia where locally it was the wettest March since 1947. Small sunshine excesses, relative to the long-term average were observed in most parts of the country except for southeast England.
Text Box: There was a preponderance NW-ly and cyclonic weather types during March, and a notable Arctic outbreak coincided with the Easter weekend. The main anomaly centres were -15 mbar over the Baltic and +5mbar just north of the Azores, resulting in a northwesterly anomalous flow over the British Isles; the northerly component to the flow over the UK was the highest in March since 1970. Mean monthly sea-level pressure ranged from 6mbar below normal at Scilly and Valentia to 13mbar below in Shetland.

The month started as it meant to go on, with a vigorous northwesterly airflow covering the UK. A strong ridge of high pressure crossed the country overnight 4th/5th, followed by a very disturbed westerly type which lasted until the 13th. The first four days were bright, blustery days with scattered showers of sleet, snow and hail although heavier snow fell in the Central Belt on the 3rd with 15cm at Wishaw. The 5th began fine a frosty with a minimum of -8.1C at Loch Glascarnoch (Sutherland) and it stayed fine all day in southern districts, but it became very wet in the north and west, with 50mm of rain at Kinlochewe (Wester Ross). Very unsettled weather continued until the 13th with periods of heavy rain, especially over the western highlands, the Lake District and the Welsh hills; Tyndrum (Perthshire) collected 211mm between the 5th and 13th. It was very windy at times, particularly on the 10th when a depression deepened to 949 mbar as it tracked across southern Ireland, and there was a good deal of coastal flooding in Cornwall and Devon. Strongest gusts included 75kn at Alderney (Channel Is) and 70kn at Mumbles (near Swansea). It was temporarily very mild in the south on the 11th with a high of 15.3C at Southampton. A depression developed in the southwest approaches on the 14th, thence travelling slowly across southern England on the 15th and 16th; the temperature climbed to 15.4C at Gravesend (Kent) on the 15th before the rain set in, then most central and southern parts of England and Wales had 18 hours of continuous rain amounting to 25-45mm, and to 60mm at Raunds (Northants). At several places this was the heaviest March fall in a single day on record.
                                                                                                                                             
    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 0C
   
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
           
                                                                     
    C     C     C     C           Hrs     Hrs       Hrs     Hrs       mm     mm       mm     mm          
                                                                                                                                             
  *Hampstead   09.7   -0.3   03.2   +0.3   13.9   11   -02.6   23   12   05   01   07.0   07   097   094   1910   190   1995   051   1981   12   17.8   15   076   142   1910   134   1947   03   1929   00   04   00  
  Thorney Island   10.3   -0.8   04.6   +1.1   12.9   02   -03.4   05   10   02   02   09.5   04   130   099   1956   207   1995   073   1964   06   16.6   15   077   159   1941   162   1947   03   1961   00   02   00  
  *Wattisham   08.9   -1.0   02.7   +0.5   13.0   31   -02.6   05   16   06   04   08.7   31   098   086   1968   201   1995   051   1975   05   24.8   15   * 101   215   1960   095   1981   07   1961   00   06   00  
  *Wittering   09.5   +0.2   02.7   +0.1   13.3   06   -03.3   05   16   05   05   09.7   30   122   110   1950   197   1995   042   1984   10   34.0   15   074   145   1948   097   1975   08   1961   01   05   00  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   09.5   -0.1   02.9   +0.1   12.8   31   -03.1   05   18   04   04   10.2   27   127   104   1952   177   1955   057   1984   18   12.8   15   043   077   1946   149   1981   02   1961   01   04   00  
  Ross-on-Wye   10.5   +0.2   03.8   +0.7   14.0   01   -03.0   05   10   02   04   09.5   27   126   113   1915   188   1929   054   1996   12   42.4   15   085   151   1859   177   1947   <01   1938   00   03   00  
  *St Athan   09.8   +0.0   04.6   +0.9   12.1   31   -01.5   05   11   02   06   09.8   30   130   106   1954   174   2003   067   1996   13   29.4   15   074   104   1954   159   1981   13   1961   00   01   00  
  St Mawgan   09.7   -0.5   05.3   +0.3   12.9   14   00.2   18   06   00   04   10.5   19   140   102   1944   196   1955   074   1992   06   24.2   09   101   115   1945   171   1947   04   1944   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   09.0   -1.4   03.2   -0.6   12.4   30   -00.7   05   12   02   01   08.8   19   127   131   1887   215   1893   041   1960   11   28.4   15   070   112   1887   172   1947   04   1929   00   06   00  
  *Valley   09.5   -0.5   04.6   +0.0   11.7   11   -01.8   18   08   02   05   10.7   17   128   095   1946   196   1955   076   1998   09   21.2   15   063   105   1941   152   1981   13   1990   00   01   00  
  *Woodford   09.2   -0.1   01.9   -0.7   11.7   30   -03.9   05   17   09   04   08.8   04   087   084   1945   169   1948   052   1983   05   08.8   29   070   123   1942   139   1981   13   1944   00   03   00  
  *Watnall   09.4   +0.1   02.8   +0.3   12.6   30   -02.0   05   18   05   02   08.9   31   122   110   1948   179   1995   045   1984   10   21.4   15   060   119   1942   143   1947   06   1961   00   05   00  
                                                                     
  *Leeming   09.7   +0.3   02.3   -0.4   12.7   31   -05.0   05   16   06   02   08.2   24   120   114   1945   164   1995   036   1996   12   25.0   29   059   122   1945   113   1947   03   1953   01   05   00  
  *Boulmer   08.9   +0.1   02.5   +0.1   12.7   08   -02.2   05   05   03   01   07.5   14   104   092   1945   178   1997   031   1964   10   06.4   21   044   080   1945   119   1947   08   1953   00   05   00  
  *Eskdalemuir   07.2   -0.1   00.8   -0.2   10.2   31   -05.1   05   20   11   02   09.7   04   081   088   1911   185   1929   044   1936   05   18.4   31   156   133   1911   282   1989   17   1944   00   11   00  
  *Bishopton   08.5   -1.0   02.1   -0.5   12.0   31   -01.7   05   17   07   03   09.5   04   105   107   1921   155   2003   039   1936   05   14.4   07   153   214   1921   180   1994   17   1969   00   04   00  
                                                                     
  *Leuchars   08.9   -0.1   01.6   -1.0   15.0   20   -03.2   05   23   08   01   10.0   31   142   124   1922   187   1929   049   1964   13   07.2   29   036   081   1922   103   1958   07   1973   00   05   00  
  *Dyce   08.0   -0.4   01.2   -0.8   13.3   06   -05.3   26   25   09   00   09.7   31   128   119   1941   192   2003   030   1964   05   08.6   20   057   093   1941   127   1958   07   1953   00   08   00  
  *Stornoway   07.6   -1.2   02.2   -1.3   10.8   06   -01.4   27   16   02   01   10.1   27   096   082   1880   172   1911   055   1938   01   11.4   07   111   127   1943   206   1990   19   1969   00   03   00  
  *Aldergrove   08.9   -0.9   02.7   -0.5   11.0   31   -03.1   18   14   01   04   10.4   17   120   112   1927   181   1929   053   1996   02   09.8   29   083   152   1927   122   1940   09   1953   00   02   00  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                             
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's     * New highest  
  sunshine figures are from a nearby site.