After a rare dry/warm UK winter with only brief spells of arctic cold and a measly seasonal minimum of -10C (UK’s actual coldest was -12.1C but in November) it’s hard to believe we’re about to enter meteorological spring’s 2nd of 3 months.
The Dec-Feb period wound up very mild, particularly for Scotland and will go down as fourth warmest winter on record.
The only part of the UK which saw below average temps was the Southeast of England and that was in January.
Like February, it’s been a very mixed March with spells of mild along with cold, rain, dry and snow.
Ironically but not uncommon, the Northern UK enjoyed a covering of snow the day after the spring equinox and probably the most widespread snow of the entire winter period. However that snow typically melts within 24 hours one you enter the second half of March due to the late March sun being as strong as mid September.
This was the scene I woke to back at the beginning of this week.
By afternoon, most of that snow had disappeared.
But in the mountains… great conditions in the Nevis Range below!
Just cause the sun angle is higher and there’s much greater incoming solar radiation, it doesn’t mean it can’t get cold and it has done over the minimal snow cover that remains across the Highlands. Dalwhinnie dipped to -8.6C yesterday, one of the coldest nights since December 1.
Despite the cold and snowy spells in March, the month is following the mild trend seen back in Dec-Feb.
As for the remainder of March, we slowly warm up after a chilly work week thus far.
High pressure builds over the UK as we enter the weekend, setting up a classic large spring diurnal temperature swing. In other words, clear, calm skies by night mean frost but under the same conditions by day, it should warm nicely.
So, what can we expect in April?
Looks like more a positive AO/NAO pattern is setting up and that means drier, warmer and therefore more settled but with cool nights.
CFSv2 500mb height anomaly weeklies show a predominantly N Atlantic/Greenland trough, Europe ridge and so we may well see surges of warmth lift out of Iberia up over the UK and even Scandinavia and the emphasis according to the CFSv2 is on DRY during April.