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graphs      CLIMATE-UK.COM'S  REVIEW  OF  THE  BRITISH  METEOROLOGICAL  SCENE
     MONTHLY  SUMMARY
     No. 639         For    MARCH    2009
      MOSTLY DRY AND VERY SUNNY;  MANY RATHER WARM DAYS AND SOME FROSTY NIGHTS
Text Box: The opening ten days were unsettled with frequent westerly, northwesterly and cyclonic types. A fortnight of mainly anticyclonic weather followed, but the changeable northwesterly regime returned between the 23rd and 29th. It was the 20th most ‘westerly’ and the 21st most ‘northerly’ March in 137 years of records.

The first ten days of March were very unsettled with Atlantic depressions and their associated fronts crossing the UK at frequent intervals. The 3rd was a wet day over the entire country with over 10mm falling widely, and Capel Curig, Snowdonia, collected 31mm of rain. It was often rather cold during this period, especially between the 4th and 6th, particularly in Scotland and northern England. The temperature climbed no higher than 1.7°C on the 4th at Tulloch Bridge, Lochaber, and 1.6°C on the 5th at Spadeadam Forest, Cumbria. On the intervening night the mercury sank to -9.6°C at Braemar, Aberdeenshire. The 7th was another very wet day in northern and western regions with 34mm of rain at Shap in Cumbria, and on the 8th a severe gale swept northern Britain with peak gusts of 77kn on Foula and 69kn at Lerwick, both Shetland.

From the 11th until the 22nd high pressure dominated the UK’s weather, and much of the country remained completely dry throughout this fortnight. Until the 14th most parts of Britain were rather cloudy with near-normal temperatures, but from the 15th until the 22nd it was generally sunny with light winds; afternoons were warm but it was often frosty at night. The temperature reached or exceeded 16°C somewhere in the UK on eight consecutive days, peaking at 17.3°C at Castlederg, County Tyrone, on the 18th, and 18.5°C at Altnaharra, Sutherland, on the 20th. The following night Altnaharra’s minimum was -4.5°C, giving a diurnal range there of 23degC. Also early on the 21st the mercury dipped to -5.1°C at Buxton, Norfolk. During the 12-day period from the 14th to the 25th inclusive, Camborne in Cornwall
Text Box: registered 119h of bright sunshine, an average of very nearly 10h per day, while Guernsey airport recorded 122h in the 13 days 13th-25th.

During the 22nd and 23rd the anticyclone retreated to a position off southwest Ireland, allowing a cold front to cross the country, and 39mm of rain fell at Cassley (Sutherland) on the 22nd alone. From then until the 29th an unsettled, blustery, and rather cold northwesterly type held sway, bringing frequent showers of rain and hail, and some snow fell at times over northern hills. On the 28th the day’s maximum temperature at Braemar, Aberdeenshire, was a mere 1.5°C, while the following night a minimum of -7.1°C was recorded at Eskdalemuir, Dumfriesshire. An early-morning minimum of -4.3°C was logged at Hurn (Dorset) on the 30th. The last two days of March were quiet and dry, if rather cloudy, as high pressure re-established itself across the British Isles.

Mean maximum temperature ranged from 0.0-0.5degC above the 1971-2000 average in northern and western Scotland, northwest England and Northern Ireland, to 1.5-2.0degC above in eastern England and the Midlands. Mean minimum temperature was within 0.5degC of the average in most parts of the country. Overall, it was warmer than March 2008 but slightly colder than that of 2007. Rainfall was 20-40 per cent above normal in northern and western Scotland but below normal everywhere else, and only 15-20mm fell in parts of northeast England, and locally in the Midlands and Lincolnshire, during the entire month. Over England and Wales it was the driest March since 2003. It was a very sunny month with excesses amounting to 40-70 per cent in most regions. In 130 years of records there have been only three sunnier Marches over England and Wales - in 1893, 1907 and 1929, although that of 2003 was about as sunny.
                                                                                                                                             
                       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 0ºC
   
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
           
                                                                     
      ºC       ºC       ºC       ºC             Hrs       Hrs         Hrs       Hrs       mm       mm         mm     mm          
                                                                                                                                             
  *Hampstead   12.0   +2.0   03.6   +0.7   15.4   16   -01.5   06   12   02   00   09.3   18   157   152   1910   190   1995   051   1981   19   10.3   03   024   045   1910   134   1947   03   1929   00   00   00  
  Thorney Island   11.7   +0.6   03.7   +0.2   15.5   22   -02.0   30   12   04   02   11.8   21   188   143   1956   207   1995   073   1964   10   14.2   03   035   073   1941   162   1947   03   1961   00   00   00  
  *Wattisham   10.9   +1.0   02.4   +0.2   15.4   16   -02.3   21   20   07   02   11.1   18   133   117   1968   201   1995   051   1975   14   09.0   03   031   065   1960   101   2008   07   1961   00   00   00  
  *Wittering   11.0   +1.7   02.8   +0.2   15.6   16   -02.9   05   19   05   01   10.0   21   152   137   1950   197   1995   042   1984   18   08.0   03   020   040   1948   097   1975   08   1961   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   11.1   +1.5   03.1   +0.2   14.9   16   -01.9   06   17   04   02   10.6   29   * 177   147   1952   177   1955   057   1984   11   14.0   03   031   055   1946   149   1981   02   1961   00   00   00  
  Ross-on-Wye   12.1   +1.8   02.4   -0.7   16.1   21   -02.8   06   20   06   03   09.6   22   145   130   1915   188   1929   054   1996   22   17.6   03   025   044   1859   177   1947   <01   1938   00   00   00  
  *St Athan   10.6   +0.8   04.2   +0.5   15.3   17   -01.5   06   15   02   03   11.6   29   167   135   1954   174   2003   067   1996   15   11.2   03   046   065   1954   159   1981   13   1961   00   00   00  
  Culdrose   10.7   +0.7   05.2   +0.8   13.8   16   -01.0   29   15   02   03   11.0   17   167   130   1961   191   1973   072   1969   16   09.8   03   034   038   1961   164   2001   02   1961   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   10.8   +0.4   04.2   +0.4   14.5   16   -00.3   05   09   01   00   10.6   16   156   160   1887   215   1893   041   1960   21   16.8   03   030   048   1887   172   1947   04   1929   00   00   00  
  *Valley   09.8   -0.2   04.9   +0.3   14.3   19   -01.2   05   11   02   04   10.4   19   143   106   1946   196   1955   076   1998   14   06.2   09   026   043   1941   152   1981   13   1990   00   00   00  
  *Woodford   10.4   +1.1   02.3   -0.3   14.8   31   -03.4   29   18   12   02   11.3   29   109   105   1945   169   1948   052   1983   12   11.4   24   038   066   1942   139   1981   13   1944   00   00   00  
  *Watnall   10.9   +1.6   03.4   +0.8   16.1   31   -01.8   29   16   04   01   11.6   29   148   133   1948   179   1995   045   1984   16   09.6   03   030   059   1942   143   1947   06   1961   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Leeming   11.3   +1.9   02.9   +0.2   16.1   21   -05.0   05   19   06   01   11.7   29   * 168   158   1945   164   1995   036   1996   18   05.2   27   021   044   1945   113   1947   03   1953   00   00   00  
  *Boulmer   10.4   +1.6   03.3   +0.9   15.8   31   -02.1   29   13   04   01   11.3   29   153   134   1945   178   1997   031   1964   17   04.8   07   016   028   1945   119   1947   08   1953   00   00   00  
  *Eskdalemuir   08.2   +0.5   01.7   +0.6   13.4   19   -07.1   29   21   08   07   09.1   10   092   100   1911   185   1929   044   1936   10   24.8   07   134   113   1911   282   1989   17   1944   00   03   00  
  *Bishopton   09.7   +0.2   03.3   +0.6   15.1   19   -02.6   05   12   04   01   10.1   10   114   116   1921   155   2003   039   1936   06   13.4   03   107   149   1921   180   1994   17   1969   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Leuchars   10.5   +1.5   02.5   -0.1   15.2   31   -04.0   05   18   06   01   09.6   19   163   141   1922   187   1929   049   1964   17   11.4   07   029   064   1922   103   1958   07   1973   00   00   00  
  *Dyce   10.2   +1.8   02.8   +0.8   17.7   31   -04.6   05   17   05   02   09.6   20   138   129   1941   192   2003   030   1964   17   10.8   27   041   067   1941   127   1958   07   1953   00   01   00  
  *Stornoway   08.8   +0.1   03.7   +0.2   13.5   31   -00.2   04   11   01   06   10.1   20   095   081   1880   172   1911   055   1938   04   12.8   26   124   142   1943   206   1990   19   1969   00   01   00  
  *Aldergrove   10.6   +0.8   03.5   +0.3   15.6   18   -02.3   05   15   04   04   10.8   18   106   099   1927   181   1929   053   1996   11   07.8   03   035   064   1927   122   1940   09   1953   00   00   00  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                             
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's      
  sunshine figures are from a nearby site.   * New record