April Showers dry up!
Here’s a teaser for you: in what way did Epping in April resemble Antarctica? They were both exceptionally cold and dry…
They say that “April comes dressed in brown, and goes dressed in green”. This year, it was so cold and dry that the leaves were late coming out, so many trees by the end of the month were still are more brown than green. The warmth in March may have brought on spring bulbs early, but April flowering plants haven’t had the same encouragement. Gardeners and farmers have found growing conditions pretty challenging. At least the many countryside walks that were muddy morasses all winter have fully dried out!
So let’s start with the rainfall: just 1.0mm of rain over the whole month leaves April 2021 not just the driest April in our 37 years of records, but indeed our driest month ever. We had recordable rain on just three days, despite a few days over the first half of the month giving us very light snow flurries, insufficient to register on the rain gauge (0.2mm is the minimum it can measure). The positive from the dry weather was that we had plenty of sunshine – every day was sunny, with an average across the month of 9.9 hours per day.
Temperatures were also well down on average. After the last three days of March yielding temperatures in the low twenties, less than a week later we struggled to just 7.7°C by day with a sharp overnight frost down to -2.4°C – the fourth lowest in our records for April. There were five overnight air frosts, and with 15 nights in the month with a minimum below 2°C, there was plenty of ground frost. The overall mean temperature for the month was just 7.0°C, the second coldest after 1986.
No surprise then that the commonest wind direction for the month was easterly, and although it was often breezy, there were no particularly strong winds, with the strongest gust at 24mph, or Force 5.
|Measure||Unit||Minimum||Average||Maximum||Average min||Average max||Total|
|Wind source (most common/highest gust)||Sector||E||WNW|
|Wind high gust||mph||3.0||24||16.0|
|Rain daily accumulation||mm||0.0||0.6||1.0|
|Solar irradiance during daylight||W/m²||274||1062||782|