March 2018 weather - in like a beast

Feeding sheep in winter_14357Whilst mean temperatures for the month to 28th were well below average, typically by nearly 2 °C,  it will not be in the list of the ten coldest Marches since 1910. However, it could end up being the third coldest March in the last 30 years. 

 The 'Beast from the East' roared in at the start of the month on the back of unseasonably cold air of Siberian origin.  The daily maximum temperature on 1st March at Tredegar (Blaenau Gwent) was only -4.7 °C; the lowest March daily maximum temperature on record for the UK, and the ‘feels like’ temperature was widely around -10 °C. Temperatures then returned to something like normal until the second significant bout of snow around the 18th. Some areas finally began to feel more spring-like again around 22nd-26th. 

Most of Europe experienced a similar cold start to spring (it was colder than the 1981-2010 average) but for a large area from north-eastern Africa through the Middle East and into China and the Indian sub-continent temperatures were substantially above average.

Globally it was the third warmest March on record according to the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting 

In some areas of Pakistan records were broken for March as temperatures reached more than 10°C above average. In Bahrain the mean temperature was 24.6°C,  3.6°C above the long-term normal, and was the highest mean temperatures for the month of March since 1902.



UK rainfall was 110% of average but some places, especially Devon, the Midlands and some eastern coastal counties, had over twice the normal amount. In contrast Cumbria and north-west Scotland were much drier than average.  

England as a whole saw 160% of average rainfall making it the joint 7th wettest March since 1910.   In Wales, rainfall was 130% of average. It was a very wet month in the east and south, but parts of the north-west were slightly drier than average. 

Sunshine was 75% of average overall in England and 85% for Wales. 

Within Europe, others suffered similarly.  Spain had 163 mm of rainfall – more than three times the long-term average - making it one of the wettest months of March on record. In France, Mediterranean regions saw two to four times more rain than average. 

March 2018 might have come in like a beast but it sailed out on soggy and flooded fields.  Fodder shortages, concerns about the knock-on effects on this year's breeding flock, delays to spring drilling and some unhappy winter crops mean this has turned into a very difficult and late spring for UK farmers.  The Met Office's outlook for the second half of April looks like it might offer some respite with talk of more settled, dry and probably sunny weather and some warmth.

Last edited on: 10:04:2018

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