Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Winter of 2008/09 and Spring 2009

The official statistics on the winter were produced by the Met Office's national climate information centre last week and confirmed that it was indeed a 'cold winter' - well at least colder that we have been used to since 1995/96 in England and Wales and 1996/97 in the UK, with temperatures 0.5 deg C below the 30-year average. The rainfall was more marked with some areas of the UK recording less than 70% of the average rainfall for the period.

But perhaps the thing that will stick in the minds of most of us was the significant snowfall in the first week of February which brought depths of snow greater than 15 cm across many parts of the UK. The last time we had a winter snowfall of that size was in February 1991.

Enough of weather-past. We had the Vernal Equinox at the weekend signalling Spring is with us now - so what should we expect? Well the latest Met Office seasonal forecast is suggesting that it will be a near or slightly below average Spring for temperatures and rainfall. But what is an average Spring I hear you say. For temperature that's an average of 7.4 deg C and for rainfall that's about 232 mm (or around 9 inches) in total across the three months from March to May.

If you had to guess the wettest Spring month what would it be - you might say April because of the old adage April showers bring forth May flowers, but actually its March. March accounts for 96 mm of our rainfall on average, April some 70 mm and around 66 mm in May - so you can see March is wetter by quite a bit. May as it happens is our driest and sunniest month of the year on average. That's probably enough weather statistics for one entry.

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