March followed the trend of above average temperatures for the third month in a row. With a mean temperature of 7.2C it was 0.8C above the 30-year average. It followed January and February which were +1.2C and +1.6C. The warmest day was the 30th when the thermometer touched 18.8C, the warmest day since 7th October.
It follows that the incidence of air frost was below the long-term average. There were seven days with an air frost, two when the temperature only just dropped below zero. It was quite a contrast with March 2013 when there were 19 occasions that an air frost occurred. The lowest temperature was in the early hours of the 24th, the coldest since November, when a low of -3.8C was recorded.
Unlike the previous two months when we had record rainfall, only 40.8mm of precipitation was recorded. This is 70% of the 30-year average or 17mm below the long-term average. There 16 dry days, the totals when rainfall did occur were modest with the very wet day on the 2nd producing 15.4mm.
Fog occurred during the morning of 4 days, thick fog (visibility less than 200 metres) for 3 days of those days, namely 12th, 13th and 14th.
Hail fell during rain showers that occurred on 3 days. On the 16th and 23rd it was large hail which is classed as greater than 5mm in diameter.
The monthly totals for Solar Energy and Sunshine were 5% and 6% respectively above the mean for recent years.
With a maximum of 18.8C. on the 30th it was the warmest day since 7th October 2013. The recent increase in air temperature, by day and night, has raised the soil temperature at the 5cm depth to 8.1C.
The average number of air frosts for March is 9 but during this month we will only have experienced 7, which contrasts with March 2013 when we suffered 19 days with an air frost, a 30-year record.
The most severe air frost in March 2013 was a low of -6.6C whereas in 2014 the coldest morning produced a minimum of -3.8C
The thermometer dropped below freezing just before midnight and fell to -3.8C at 05.40am. This was the coldest night since November when the temperature fell to -4.1C on the 26th and -4.0C on the 27th.
The soil temperature, at a 5cm depth, dropped to 1.5C at dawn.
Several sharp showers of rain and hail occurred during the day. Small hail is less than 5mm in diameter and large hail, which fell late morning, contained large hail which is greater than 5mm in diameter. Around 11.20am, as the very heavy shower passed over, the temperature fell 5C in as many minutes.
With just over a week to go before the end of the month the total rainfall of 30mm is about 50% of the 30-year average. This contrasts with the past few months when 717mm fell from 16th October to 15th March, a record. This time span is the accepted period when precipitation filtering through to ground sources principally exceeds evaporation. The driest year was 1991/92 when just 224mm was recorded.