The mild weather of 1998 continued during March, with the country enjoying temperatures about 1.7°C above average. The first 12 days of March, however, were rather cold, although by the end of the month daytime temperatures were more typical of May than March. The highest temperatures were reached on the 28th March. Only the northern isles of Scotland missed out on the warmth, Stornoway and Lerwick recording March temperatures very close to their average. 1998 has so far been about 2°C warmer than average.
After a dry February, March brought welcome rainfall across most of the country, although most of the monthly total fell during the first 10 days. The middle ten days of the month were dry virtually everywhere, before weather fronts brought more rain during the last few days of March. The northwest of England and Wales recorded the largest anomalies, rainfall here totalling nearly twice the usual March figure. Rainfall across the south of England was not so unusual, but still resulted in a wetter month than average. Rainfall during 1998 in the UK has been about 10 per cent above average.
March was a dull month, in fact barely managing to record as much sunshine as in February despite the increased day lengths. No March day, for example, was a sunny as the 6.3 hours of sunshine recorded on February 7th. Nearly the whole country was cloudy and sunshine hours over much of England were 30 to 40 per cent below average. The northeast of Scotland was most favoured, with sunshine at Aberdeen and Leuchars just managing to reach its March average.
Dr Mike Hulme is a Research Climatologist at the University of East Anglia
|Daytime Temperature||1.7°C above average,|
|Rainfall||35% above average;|
|Sunshine||24% below average.|
|Sunniest||Leuchars||127 hours sun|
|Cloudiest||Belfast||58 hours sun|