Monthly Summary - March 2015

   March was both colder and wetter than average and after the long run of warmer than average months, along with February we have now had consecutive colder than average months. The month was generally mixed with an unsettled start and end (in like a lion and out like a lion!), had a few wintry interludes and a dry, settled period from 14th - 22nd.

   The number of frosts (11) was just above average and we have now already had more frosts this year than in the whole of 2014. Here at Maulds Meaburn the colder than average month was mainly due to the slightly suppressed mean maximum temperature.

   MSLP of 1017.3 Mb was +4.1 Mb above the average for March with high pressure dominant during the middle part of the month, being replaced by more unsettled conditions from the 23rd and despite being well above average didn't prevent the month ending wetter than average.

   Overall a mean minimum of 1.48°c and a mean maximum of 8.47°c saw the temperature 0.4°c below the 1981-2010 average, making it the coldest March since 2013. The highest maximum temperature recorded was 12.4°c (19th), the lowest minimum -2.6°c (25th).

   Rainfall of 104.6 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 121.6 mm) made it the wettest March since 2008 and here at Maulds Meaburn was 152.5% of average for 2008-14, but locally it was more typically around 110% of average, although at Newton Rigg (Penrith) rainfall was only 96.8% of average.

   At the Met' Office site at Newton Rigg, 73.4 mm made it the wettest since 2010 and in a series back to 1914 this makes it the 35th wettest March (1 year of incomplete data) in that time. With a mean temperature of 4.95°c this sees March having been colder on 46 occasions, warmer on 49, with one year having the same temperature (5 years of missing data) in the same period back to 1914.

   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 58.8 mm (55.1 mm)

   Brothers Water 265.0 mm (219 mm)

   Nunwick Hall 65.0 mm (60.0 mm) and

   366.0 mm at Seathwaite Farm (Borrowdale - 268 mm).


  1st - 3rd    The month started in an unstable westerly airflow with a frontal system overnight into the 1st bringing a spell of rain with further light rain during the day, before it then turned cooler and wintry on the 2nd. Snow overnight gave a 1cm covering on the 2nd with further snow during the morning and the 3rd saw a repeat of this.

   The days were cool, typically just below 5°c, but also with some decent sunny spells inbetween any snow showers.


  4th - 6th    High pressure (HP) then built in Biscay and moved slightly north, but with us lying at its northern extent. This gave a brisk WNW'ly flow to start, although with sunny spells, but as the HP nudged further north and the winds backed SW'ly, this dragged in moist air and the 5-6th were cloudy. With no rain on the 5th, the day retains its record as the years driest day, has now after eight years it quite remarkably has never recorded more than 0.2 mm of rain.

   The HP moved away to the continent on the 6th with us sat at its most NW'ly extent. Frontal systems to our west then 'squeezed' upto that HP and it became quite windy, gusting to 51 mph. Rainfall during these days was minimal and temperatures recovered to the mid 8°c.


  7th - 13th    The period was mixed with low pressure (LP) in charge for a day followed by HP from the south replacing it for the next day and subsequently a good day tended to follow an indifferent one.

   The 9th saw rain (9.3 mm) from mid morning, becoming heavier and windy in the afternoon, followed by a lovely sunny day on the 10th, with the 11th (9.9 mm) again seeing increasingly heavier rain in the afternoon.

   The 12th with 26.4 mm would be the month's wettest day, starting benignly but dull in a slack pressure gradient. A new frontal system associated to a deep area of LP in the Atlantic arrived late afternoon bringing rain that became progressively heavier during the evening, continuing into the 12th before HP began to build from the north-east.


  14th - 22nd    The frontal system from the previous days cleared during the 14th allowing HP to ridge then build from Norway. That HP would be in charge throughout but from the 18th a new area of HP would develop to our immediate west.

   It became drier with very little rain, but during the early part of the period it was generally dull and murky and it wasn't until the 19th before it improved.

   During the first part of the period when it was dull and murky, temperatures struggled between 5 and 8°c, but when the sun came out on the 19th it rose to a month's high of 12.4°c (54.3°f).

   The 21st and especially the 22nd were lovely sunny days, reasonable at just over 9°c, although the 22nd started with a sharp frost of -2.3°c.


  23rd - 24th    A weak cold front passed through during the 23rd, whilst only giving a brief shower it introduced a cooler Nw'ly flow. The 24th in an unstable airflow saw some sunny intervals and showers, but at 1450 Hrs for the next 30 minutes there was an especially heavy hail shower (hail in excess of 5mm+ in size) that carpeted the road inbetween Maulds Meaburn and Crosby Ravensworth, although the shower was much heavier in Crosby Ravensworth (8.9 mm compared to just 4.4 mm at Maulds Meaburn).


  25th    Under a ridge of HP the 25th started with the month's coldest temperature of -2.6°c (27.3°f) and after an early sunny start, fog literally rose as the ground warmed and we also had a 'day of fog' (fog at 0900 hrs morning obs), but the sun would soon burn this off and there followed a lovely sunny day.


  26th - 31st    The final part of the month was generally unsettled becoming stormy at the close. The 26th saw some snow in in the early hours as a frontal system moved through with a cool NW'ly flow behind, but with sunny intervals.

   After a weak ridge of HP gave a quiet day on the 27th, a LP system built to our south-west on the 28th, tracking north along the western flank of the UK bringing rain in the early hours and through the morning.

   The 30th saw a strong westerly flow as a deep and active LP system built in the mid Atlantic and arrived late afternoon with a spell of heavy rain (15.9 mm) through into the evening.

   The winds associated to this LP (984.0 Mb) increased in strength through the night gusting to 56 Mph and peaking at 0400 Hrs when the just reached gale force strength of a 10 minute average of 39 Mph as the associated cold fronts moved through. Those winds continued throughout the 31st which saw some sunny intervals with showers, but in the strong NW'ly flow those showers were wintry in nature and quite violent at times.


   Rainfall totalled 104.6 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 18 days of which 13 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 4.98°c      --      The Mean Max' was   8.47°c     --      The Mean Min'   1.48°c.

   We had 11 Air Frosts in the month (year 33)                  --      Grass frosts totalled 21 (year 63).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 4.2°c on the 4th        to      a high of 6.7°c on the 29th     --      with a monthly mean of 5.7°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 5.5°c on the 6th     to      a high of 6.5°c on the 24th, 28th and 30th-31st     --     with a monthly mean of 6.1°c



   * March 2015 rainfall was 152.5% of the March average for 2008 - 2014

   * March 2015 was 0.29°c colder than the March average for 2009 - 2014 and 0.4°c colder than the the local long term average 1981-2010



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