Tuesday 1st May brought us 9.4 hours off strong sunshine and a recovery in UV levels. This raised the thermometer to a maximum of 13.2C in the breezy south-westerly winds, but still 3.6C below average.
It was dry day but the next weather front was heralded by increasing cloud early evening and light rainfall occurred before dawn measuring 0.8mm.
Wednesday arrived with thick, low cloud and light rain ahead of the heavy rain in the next hour or so with the wind from the south gusting to 28mph.
The blanket of cloud meant a mild night with no frost, as on Tuesday morning, with a minimum of 8.3C.
Our weather always seems to provoke a conversation due to its variability and the past April was no exception that included another broken record.
The month began with a downpour resulting in the wettest day of the month with 18.2mm on the 1st, which was the wettest day since 26th December. With only 13 dry days, the average is 16, it was not surprising to find that the total for the month was 4.6mm above the 34-year average with 62.8mm.
Although both January and February produced rainfall a little below average the exceptional March and then wetter April totals meant that during the first four months of 2018 the rainfall total was 50mm above the 34-year average.
I have mentioned the variability in our weather and this can be shown that in April 1984 the rainfall was negligible with just 2.0mm whereas in April 2000 we were swamped under 165.2mm.
When reviewing the temperatures throughout the month I find that there was a variation of almost 20C between the warmest and coolest day. The very wet day on the 1st meant that the thermometer struggled to reach 7.3C whereas under the influence of the very warm air from the Iberian Peninsula on the 19th it soared to 26.5C. This high beat the previous record set on 23rd April 2011 of 26.2C. The April average maximum is 14.01C.
Due to the many cloudy days and occasional warmer spells the mean temperature for April was 1.3C above the 34-year average. This was principally due to the lack of frost and warmer nights under the blanket of cloud that stopped warmth radiating into the atmosphere.
This was only the second year that April did not produce an air frost as happened in April 2011. Looking back over the records many an April in the 1980’s and 1990’s produced 9 or 10 days with an air frost.
If you think April was a dull month with occasional brighter periods you were correct, as the sunshine total was just 110 hours. I have only had this instrument installed for four years but this total was 60 hours below the three-year average. This lack of sunshine resulted in the solar energy being only 79% of the long-term average.
With a sunny start to May and the barometer rising we look forward to a warmer and drier month.