Was 17/18th March Among Coldest Ever Late March Days For UK?

I’ve not seen any stats but when looking at the widespread MAXIMUM temperatures for both 17th and 18th March with 1/2C either side of freezing UK-wide, even maximums of -2 and -3C in southwest parts with a sun strength comparable to late or even mid September, I recon these two days must be among the UK’s coldest on record for second half of the month and perhaps coldest for March overall in some southern locales. Afterall I posted just two days ago at how Paris just had their coldest back to back late March days in 130 years. Today I posted about Barcelona’s nearby Fabra Observatory which just had it’s 2nd biggest snowfall since 1914.


Credit: Meteoceil

These were the maximums for the 18th, have we ever seen ‘highs’ of -2 and -3C this late over south Wales and SW England and away from the SW coast 98% of ALL England and Wales sites at or below 0C?

Credit: Simon Cardy

Perhaps some of the big winters such as 1947, 1962 and the late 1970s saw comparably frigid days but it’s without a doubt these are the coldest days for so late in the season in my lifetime of 35 years.

No wonder the NAO was so deeply negative following the SSW.

An email from the Met Office

The low maximum temperatures on 18th March 2018 were as you say exceptionally cold for the second half of March.

Analysing Yeovilton data back to 1964, the lowest March maximum temperature was -0.4 deg C on 1st March 2018 and the second lowest was 0.4 deg C on 18th March.

Previous lowest for first half of March was 0.9 deg C on 5th March 1971 and for 2nd half of the month was 1.7 deg C on 24th March 2013.

Anlalysing Plymouth Mount Batten which has a digitised data series back to 1930, gives the lowest March maximum temperature as 0.8 deg C on 1st March 2018, with 5th coldest being 2.3 deg C on 18th March 2018 (this was the coldest for second half of March).

Previous lowest for first half of March was 1.5 deg C on 1st March 1986 and for 2nd half of the month was 2.8 deg c on 29th March 1952.

I hope these stats are of some interest and assistance. I’m sure analysing other stations would show other records for March and/or 2nd half of March.

Thanks to Mark Beswick Archive Information Officer

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