March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb
Once again, the old saying largely held true as a stormy start gave way to a settled sunny spell, though there was a sting in the tail...
March arrived with us in the grip of Storm Jorge, though it was waning and had passed further north; so the strongest winds actually came on the 10th, with a gust of 32mph (Beaufort Force 7) and the most rain on 5th, with 13.2mm. In fact March was another breezy month, with the average daily maximum gust at 20.6mph, and only two days with a gust less than Force 5 (19mph).
Much of the second half of March was however bright with plenty of sunshine, and consequently there was much less rain than in February: 35.6mm, about 78% of the average for the month.
Temperatures were therefore a little above average: the mean daily maximum was a degree above normal, at 11.2°C compared with the average for March of 10.2°C, yet the highest recorded temperature was 15.7°C on 24th compared with the historical average monthly high of 16.3°C. Nights were closer to the average: the monthly average minimum for March is 3.2°C, and this March turned out to be 3.4°C.
However, the lowest temperature recorded was 0.4°C on 26th, making this the second highest ‘lowest’ after 1997, and only the second March on record with no air frost recorded.
There was however a wintry end to the month, with showers of hail, sleet and snow recorded in Epping on 29th March. Not the best weather for taking daily Coronavirus lockdown exercise!
Photo: Blackthorn blossom at Swaines Green, March 2020 (Roger Emmens)