Monthly Summary - April 2020

 High pressure dominant - very warm, dry and sunny.

    In just a short space of time we have gone from flood to drought! Whilst April may be (just) the driest in my records and the third driest of any month (since June 2007) it may surprise some that locally it was far from being the driest. The rainfall records for both Appleby and Newton Rigg are well over 100 years old and April 2020 was only the sixth and eight driest respectively.

  But the combination of the sunniest April, one of the warmest and with dry, settled conditions, does set this April out has having been particularly fine.

  April did have some quite warm days, two attaining 20°c and the mean maximum temperature was well above average, but the same could not be said for the mean minimum which was only slightly above average. Whilst the number of air frosts was below average, the number of ground frosts was above.

  However, the dryness of the month was the main headline. Whilst the rain that fell in the final few days did not prevent it from being a record breaker, rain still only fell on six days and how bizarre that just two months after the floods you could hear people stating that 'we need a drop of rain!

  After a slightly mixed start to the month high pressure became dominant and ever present, only giving way to low pressure for the final few days, which apart from some occasional rain became quite cool.

  MSLP of 1018.6 Mb was +4.9 Mb above the local average for the month and overall a mean minimum of 3.71°c and a mean maximum of 14.40°c saw the temperature 1.22°c above the eleven year average for this site.

  It was the warmest since 2014 and of the twelve now recorded, nine have been colder and two have been warmer - the highest maximum temperature recorded being 21.1°c (10th), the lowest minimum -3.4°c (14th).

  Rainfall of 17.0 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 16.5 mm - Castlehowe Scar 20.5 mm) was 30% of average for 2008-19 and made it the driest April (by 1.0 mm) in my record of thirteen years.

  During the month there was not a single 'day of' snow, hail, fog, etc. The mean wind speed at 8.77 mph was brisk but not exceptional - the maximum gust being 37 mph (2nd).

  At the Met' Office site at Newton Rigg, rainfall of 11.4 mm (21.8%) was the driest since 1984 and in a series back to 1900, 7 have been drier and 113 wetter.

  A mean temperature of 8.77°c is the warmest since 2014 and in a series back to 1952 (one year with data missing), it has been the fourth warmest. The mean minimum temperature (2.99°c) at Newton Rigg was actually 0.2°c colder than average and with six air frosts recorded during the month.

  Appleby in Westmorland with 11.5 mm has just experienced its sixth driest April in a record that commenced in 1857 - the driest being relatively recent, 1974 with just ... 0.9 mm. Chronologically the others are: 1938 (6.2 mm) - 1957 (10.2 mm) - 1980 (6.4 mm) - 1984 (10.7 mm).

  Another slight curiosity is that back in 1913 after having just recorded the wettest (146.1mm - and still the wettest on record), you would have done so one year after having recorded the then driest (11.7 mm - but now well beaten).

  It goes without saying that rainfall percentages across Cumbria were very low this month, with nowhere topping 30%. In the north of the county the average fall was especially low, down to just 7.3% at Haresceugh and mention should be made of Brampton (3.7 mm - 7.6%) which with a record stretching back twenty years has just recorded its driest month (of any month). At Seathwaite 51.6 mm (28.7%) was just the tenth driest in its record that commenced in 1845.

  Figures from the Environment Agency’s rainfall sites were, (figure in brackets being the monthly average for 1961-90)   ‘Data kindly provided by the Hydrometry and Telemetry team of the Environment Agency (Penrith)’:

  Kirkby Thore ** mm (55.4 mm)

  Haresceugh Castle (Kirkoswald) 3.89 mm (53.0 mm)

  Brothers Water 36.94 mm (129 mm) and

  Orton (Shallowford) 17.8 mm (80.7 mm [average for 1967-2019])

  51.6 mm at Seathwaite Farm (Borrowdale - 180 mm [average for 1981-2010]).

  ** not available due to faults with the gauge


  General Synoptic Report for the Month

   The month opened with the high pressure (HP) from the end of March starting to give way as a cold front to our north pushed south. However, whilst there was some rain in the Lake District, over here in the east of the county, apart from a little drizzle on the 2nd, we stayed dry.

  This saw us notch up a period of 'Absolute Drought', using the old measurement of 15 consecutive days without any measurable rainfall. When a few showers early and late on the 3rd finally broke that drought, we had had 16 consecutive days with no rain.

  The start of the month was a slight battle between low and high pressure, a battle that HP would emphatically be victorious in, but the first few days were generally cloudy and with day-time temperatures just either side of 10°c. The first meaningful rain for some time and now until the month's end, would see 6.1 mm credited to the 5th, but even this had the very good grace to fall overnight into the 6th.

  Now HP would be in control for until the final few days of the month - whilst the position of the HP would occasionally shift, creating subtle (and occasionally less than subtle) differences in our weather, the end result remained the same - settled and very dry.

  In the main, HP would sit to our north or northeast, thus giving an anomalous easterly flow that was occasionally quite brisk. Whilst the sun shone, the temperatures were above average and visibility was often 'excellent' and we benefited from being in the 'sheltered east', the wind did have a noticeable nip about it.

  The 10th was a noticeable exception which with a southerly airflow saw the temperature rise to 21.1°c (70°f), but unfortunately any sunshine this day was on the weak side.

  Then with a NE'ly flow, the 13th whilst sunny, was somewhat fresh and only managed a day-time maximum of 10°c. Both the 14-15th would then see air frosts overnight, -3.4°c to start the 14th being particularly sharp.

  Now we were into the prolonged phase of the HP being located to our NE and dragging in the chillier E-ESE'ly's. Night-time minima were in the range of 2-4°c, although most nights would experience ground frosts, but now it was virtually wall to wall sunshine. Day-time maximums ranged from 12.5 to 18°c, but the days were just superb.

  It then got better on the 23rd - 24th as the pressure gradient slackened, the HP now being less dominant, but still the weather remained fine. The temperature rose to 18.4°c on the 23rd, but on the 24th it went that bit higher at 20.4°c; both days enjoying plenty of sunshine.

  The vice like grip that the HP had been asserting over us was beginning to weaken and with an occlusion to the NW of Scotland, the 25th, whilst still pleasantly warm, so more in the way of cloud. Then what a shock come the 26th - Rain!

  From that occlusion a weak cold front developed and slowly pushed south during the 26th. During the day the cloud steadily thickened, bringing the odd spot of rain in the afternoon - but then in the evening it had the audacity to give us some light rain!!

  The 26th would also be the day on which the swallows would be recorded has having returned. And then after all that fine and dry weather the month finished slightly unsettled as the HP gave way to LP from the Atlantic. Apart from some occasional light rain on each of the last three days, it also became much cooler with temperatures dropping below 10°c. The 28th would see the month's lowest day-time maximum of 8.4°c and still with that ESE'ly breeze it felt cool. Rainfall totals may have been light and although the 30th finally brought some classic April showers, they were just not quite enough for the month to finish as the driest April in my records, but only just.


April Rainfall Anomalies %                                                                                    April Temp' Anomaly   



   Rainfall totalled 17.0 mm for the month, with rain recorded on six days of which siz were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 9.06°c      --      The Mean Max' was   14.40°c     --      The Mean Min'   3.71°c.

   We had two Air Frosts in the month (year 18)                --      Grass Frosts totalled 15 (year 67).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 6.9°c on the 1st        to      a high of 11.4°c on the 26th     --      with a monthly mean of 9.6°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 7.0°c on the 1st -3rd      to      a high of 9.6°c on the 28-30th     --     with a monthly mean of 8.5°c

   This makes the Jan' to April period of 2020 1.0°c warmer than the average for 2009-19 and with 161.8% of average rainfall for 2008-19



JANUARY 2010    FEBRUARY 2010    MARCH 2010    APRIL 2010    MAY 2010    JUNE 2010    JULY 2010    AUGUST 2010    SEPTEMBER 2010    OCTOBER 2010    NOVEMBER 2010    DECEMBER 2010   

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JANUARY 2017    FEBRUARY 2017    MARCH 2017    APRIL 2017    MAY 2017    JUNE 2017    JULY 2017    AUGUST 2017    SEPTEMBER 2017    OCTOBER 2017    NOVEMBER 2017    DECEMBER 2017    REVIEW OF 2017   

JANUARY 2018    FEBRUARY 2018    MARCH 2018    APRIL 2018    MAY 2018    JUNE 2018    JULY 2018    AUGUST 2018    SEPTEMBER 2018    OCTOBER 2018    NOVEMBER 2018    DECEMBER 2018    REVIEW OF 2018   

JANUARY 2019    FEBRUARY 2019    MARCH 2019    APRIL 2019    MAY 2019    JUNE 2019    JULY 2019    AUGUST 2019    SEPTEMBER 2019    OCTOBER 2019    NOVEMBER 2019    DECEMBER 2019    REVIEW OF 2019   

JANUARY 2020    FEBRUARY 2020    MARCH 2020   



The Oldest Inhabitant    An Inch Of Scotch Mist    But it's meant to be Summer (Summer 2017)  


© Darren Rogers 2010-20

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