Europe May 2021 Outlook (Recap on Record Cold/Dry April)

Written by on April 26, 2021 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

April 2021 will go down as a notably cold and potentially record dry month, all thanks to a very stubborn, stuck blocked pattern. It’s the persistency in the chill and rain starved pattern that’s been very impressive. Dry April’s aren’t uncommon for the UK but a cold, dry April is. The chill came is two forms, firstly, the blast of arctic air then chilly high pressure. While it’s been a month of relentless overnight frosts, days have gradually warmed.

The below visible satellite image from April 5th clearly shows the potent polar front and ‘cloud streets’, (representative of pure arctic air) sweeping south over the UK behind it.

April 2021 Highlights (as of 28th)

On April 5, as bitter arctic air swept south, the air at 850mb above Keflavik Airport, Iceland measured -20.5C. Said to be the coldest air at this level and location during April since 1968.

The 505dam thickness value crossed Lerwick, Shetland. This was the lowest thickness to pass over British airspace which the arrival of the record breaking Beast from the East on February 28, 2018.

During the arctic outbreak between April 2nd-10th, frequent snowfall and accumulation occurred for many.

This was the view out of my bedroom window in Invergordon, Ross-shire at around 5pm on April 9.

Credit: Mark Vogan

On April 6, just a week after recording an all-time March high of 24.8C, Beauvais, France plummeted to -6.9C, setting a new April record low.

On April 6, Loch Glascarnoch, Ross-shire only managed to reach 0.7C for a maximum.

The below image is of my car beside the village of Evanton, Ross-shire (beside the Cromarty Firth) on the morning of April 6.

Credit: Mark Vogan

On the morning of April 7, a low of -7.5C occured at Benson, Oxfordshire which was England’s lowest April minimum since 2013, this was later broken several times.

The -9.4C minimum recorded at Tulloch Bridge, Highland was the UK’s lowest April reading since 2013. The -9.4C is not only the UK’s coldest for April since 2013 but a joint daily record low with 1958! Also UK’s first daily record low since 2013 also.

For the first 17 straight morning’s of April, Loch Glascarnoch, Ross-shire recorded 0C or lower.

Aboyne, Aberdeenshire observed 18 straight morning of 0C or lower between March 31-April 17th.

On April 5, Slovenia set a new national April record with a minimum of -20.6C at Novi Vasi na Blokah. This surpasses the previous national record of -20.4C set in 1956.

Europe temperature anomaly through April 25.

Credit: Michael Ventrice

As of 28th, the Met Office has declared that April 2021 has been the ‘frostiest’ since records began back in 1960 with an average of 13 air frosts for the UK, surpassing the previous record of 11 set in 1970.

Current provisional frost figures across the UK in April (days): 

UK – 13

England  – 12

Southern England – 11

Northern England – 14

Wales – 11

Scotland – 16

Northern Ireland – 8

Credit: Met Office

Credit: Met Office

The full weather statistics for April 2021 will be available at the end of the month.

Here is the temperature departure from normal throughout the UK and Ireland as of April 26. These are impressive values given this represents almost the entire month and usually the 2nd half to a cold start is much warmer and often washes out any significant negative departures.

Credit: Reading University

While low pressure sinks south over the UK today and tomorrow bringing some rain, several sites remain absent of measurable rainfall since the end of March and could go through the entire month of April without anything.

Here are the rain departures as of April 26.

Credit: University of Reading

Turning colder

The current low tracking south will introduce colder air again and through the final few days of the month, may push the monthly mean temperature anomaly down a bit.

GFS has snow return next 72 hours over the Cairngorm Plateau.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

More places next 240 hours.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

The GFS ensemble is adament and has been for a solid week or so that the opening 1-2 weeks of May are on the chilly side. In fact if the model is correct and I believe it is, we may have a very cool 1st half to May or indeed May overall.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Well well well, look what the CFSv2 has for the month. Not often you see the CFSv2 showing a colder-than-normal month!

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

A chilly May makes sense given the amplification of the MJO through phases 1 and 2.

This amplification of the MJO in favorable phases along with ‘late’ final stratospheric warming should help reinforce the already developing -A0/NAO pattern.

The models show a textbook Greenland block and twin troughs either side, although the CFSv2 doesn’t see an eastern US trough. This may correct.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

This May is going to be interesting in terms of rainfall as well as potential chill. Remember back to last spring, both April and May were dry and RECORD sunny. Unlike this year SO FAR, both April and May 2020 wound up warmer than average thanks to surges of summer heat. But let’s not forget the spells of cool too, it’s just the heat far outweighed the cool.

Warmth is something you’d kind of expect if you get a record sunny as well as dry month. This spring may be dry but COLD if modelling and my hunch bares fruit.


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