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Spring starts with a mild and wet March

Posted: 24/04/24

Press Release: 2nd April 2024 from: Met Office Press Office

Meteorological spring kicked off with a mild and wet month of weather for the UK, with southern areas particularly wet compared to average.

Although it’s felt like it hasn’t stopped raining for many, no national records have been broken and March 2024 will go down as a wet and dull month, according to provisional statistics from the Met Office.

Wetter than average

The UK experienced 27% more rainfall than an average March, with much of this concentrated in the south. A number of counties saw at least double the amount of rainfall they would expect for the month, including Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

Although Scotland experienced widespread rain throughout the month, it was drier than average, especially in northern and western areas.

A mild month

The month started cooler than average, with some snow falling early on. But this cool weather was soon replaced with milder conditions for much of the rest of the month, with only brief cooler interludes at times.

Overall, the provisional mean temperature for the UK was 6.7°C, 1.0°C above average. Southern England was much milder than areas further north, with a mean temperature of 8.2°C (1.4°C above average). Scotland was the coolest region, recording an average temperature of 5.0°C – just 0.6°C above average.

England provisionally recorded the seventh-warmest March on record in a series from 1884, with an average temperature of 7.8°C.

Met Office Scientist Emily Carlisle said: “Many will remember how wet March has been, with a succession of fronts and the influence of low pressure seemingly never too far away from the UK. Coming off the back of a wet winter and what has been a wet start to the year, many areas have very saturated ground, which has increased the sensitivity to rainfall events in recent weeks.”

Sunshine in short supply

Many of us have been looking forward to some welcome spring sunshine however, as you’d expect with the frequent rain, sunshine amounts have been in disappointingly short supply during March.

The UK recorded just 95.2 hours of sunshine for the month (87% of the long-term average). Scotland was the only region to have seen more than its average, with 4% extra sunshine hours than the average.