Plenty of sun in dry month

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WITH a total rainfall of only 27.0mms this was the lowest recorded since 1993 (24.4mms) and the fourth driest March locally over the past 100 years.

The others were 1944 (18.5mms) and 1931 (21.8mms).

The bulk of the rain fell between the 8th and 12th (20.5mms) and again on the 30th (5.1mms) with measurable contents on ten days.

Temperatures were close to the long-term mean (1981-2010) at 6.1C (a positive anomaly of 0.3C).

Whereas the average maximum of 11.0C was well above the expected value (9.3C) the average minimum of 1.2C was colder than the norm (2.3C).

There were 18 days with 10C or more and in the latter part of the month 15C was exceeded on six occasions, reaching 17.5C on the 24th.

Minimum temperatures fluctuated, giving an air frost on ten occasions (down to minus 5.0C on the 7th) but with a number of warmer nights (as high as 5.7C on the 12th).

There was ground frost on 16 nights.

It was also a sunny month with an estimated total of 130 hours of bright sunshine. Only 2003 (165hrs) and 2007 (133hrs) have had more sunshine in the past 20 years.

There were 13 days with six hours or more and only three “dull” days.

Winds generally were light although gale force was reached in places on the 31st.

Directions varied but there was a spell of north and easterly winds in the first week and again from the 25th to 28th, although for much of the month they were from a southerly quarter.

Pressure for the month was way above average at 1022.9mbs (the long-term value is 1011.2mbs) and this was particularly the case in the first week (over 1040mbs on the 1st to 3rd) and again at the beginning of the fourth week, reaching 1042.4mbs on the 23rd.

There was a brief spell of low pressure around the mid-month (997.0mbs on 13th) and again at the month end (999.0mbs on the 31st).

Relative humidity varied somewhat with six readings of 70 per cent or less at 0900hrs (including 67 per cent on the 26th) but with 12 mornings with 90 per cent or more, resulting in mist on the 5th and thick fog on the morning of the 15th which was slow to clear.

Visibility was good on 11 mornings.

The average R.H. of 83.6 per cent was very close to the norm.

Cloud cover averaged 66.5 per cent with overcast or cloudy conditions on 21 mornings.

There was a slight hail shower on the 9th at about noon, and there were snow showers on the evening of the 10th, but no measurable amounts recorded.

The soil was frozen on three occasions (7th, 8th and 14th) but was classed as “dry” from the 27th to 30th.