Monthly Summary - March 2020

 A very average month - particularly dry second half.

    After the rains of February and a wet first half to the month, it is almost difficult to comprehend that come the month's end the ground would be firm and drying out and that we were on the verge of recording an (meteorological) 'Absolute Drought' of 15 consecutive days with no measurable rain.

  In spite of the last 14 days of the month failing to record any rain, the month was marginally wetter than average and to complete the 'averageness' of the month, it finished just marginally warmer than average, but only by 0.06°c.

  Sunshine totals were also above average, but the month contained a mix of some cool nights, the number of ground frosts being slightly above average and warmer days. Within that mix March recorded both its lowest and highest mean sea level pressure at this site.

  The first half of the month was generally unsettled with all of the month's rain having fallen by the 17th, thereafter high pressure built and the weather became settled and dry, containing some fine spring days with temperatures and the sunny days at their peak during the 24-27th.

  Consequently the mean minimum temperature for the month finished slightly below average whilst the mean maximum was slightly above, but by a slightly larger margin.

  MSLP of 1015.3 Mb was +2.8 Mb above the local average for the month and overall a mean minimum of 1.50°c and a mean maximum of 9.31°c saw the temperature 0.06°c above the eleven year average for this site.

  It was the coldest since 2018 and of the twelve now recorded, five have been colder and six have been warmer - the highest maximum temperature recorded being 17.0°c (26th), the lowest minimum -3.0°c (20th).

  Rainfall of 94.9 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 117.4 mm - Castlehowe Scar 124.7 mm) was 113.5% of average for 2008-19 and made it the driest March since 2018 - of the thirteen now recorded, eight have been drier and four wetter.

  During the month the following was recorded: snow fell on three days (2nd, 12th and 29th), hail fell on two days (1st and 2nd). Gusts of wind exceeding 50 mph were recorded on four days - the maximum gust being 59 mph (17th).

  At the Met' Office site at Newton Rigg, rainfall of 76.6 mm (101%) was the driest since 2018 and in a series back to 1900 (one year in which data is missing) 81 have been drier and 38 wetter.

  A mean temperature of 5.71°c is the coldest since 2018 and in a series back to 1952, 44 have been colder, 23 have been warmer and one was the same.

  Generally across the county rainfall percentages were just above average, typically up to 115%, but as low as 67% at Haresceugh. However, taking Seathwaite as an example, the figures given below represents 93.2% of average, but if we used the 1961-90 period it would be 110.9% and if we used the entire period of 1845-2019 it would be 114.7% - you decide!

  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 (55.1 mm)

  Haresceugh Castle (Kirkoswald) 56.98 mm (84.6 mm)

  Brothers Water 237.83 mm (219 mm) and

  Orton (Shallowford) 147.6 mm (128.0 mm [average for 1967-2019])

  297.2 mm at Seathwaite Farm (Borrowdale - 319 mm [average for 1981-2010]).

  ** not available due to faults with the gauge


  General Synoptic Report for the Month

   The month opened with 'Storm Jorge' still dominant, but clearing the UK during the 1st. Rain and wind overnight would clear to mainly cloudy skies with a few hail showers.

  During the 2nd - 6th no one particular weather pattern developed, the UK occasionally sitting within a slack pressure gradient, all of which gave a break to the endless rains of February. The occasional trough line brought the odd shower, but generally it was a case of variable amounts of cloud, becoming clearer in the latter part of the period when we saw more by the way of sun, but also a couple of night-time frosts.

  After the 'Weekend storms' of February, come the 7th, a Saturday, we experienced another wet day. Fronts associated to low pressure (LP) SW of Iceland pushed up and across the UK bringing 19.8 mm of rain, albeit the main spell of rain fell during the evening and overnight - the next week up to the 14th would be unsettled with further spells of rain and strong winds.

  A constant stream of LP systems on a brisk SW'ly flow arrived in quick succession with the 11th (16.7 mm) and 14th (14.7 mm) experiencing the heaviest falls with the 11-12th both recording gusts of wind in excess of 50 Mph.

  It was quieter on the 15-16th with a weak ridge of HP building from the south, the 16th enjoying a little milky sunshine and which would be the date recorded for the daffodils coming into bloom.

  That HP gave way late on the 16th, the evening being a wet one as a LP system developed on a front to the west of Eire. After a brief lull during the day-time of the 17th, rain arrived at 3 p.m. and with the passage of a cold front across the UK, it became increasingly windy. A fairly wet and wild night followed with the wind gusting to 59 Mph.

  Then all change and finally Cumbria would get to see a decent and prolonged period of sunshine and no rain!

  HP in the Atlantic would build, merge with HP near Iceland and slowly drift east over the coming days, finally settling over the USSR, but still managing to maintain a strong ridge back over the UK. Dry and settled conditions followed and whilst the sunshine felt strong, at times it felt cool with an easterly breeze. Night-time frosts were recorded every night of 19th - 23rd, some being quite sharp, but later in the period when the wind swung more S-SSW'ly, the frosts abated and day-time temperatures took a noticeable rise.

  At times weather fronts came quite close to Eire and the UK, but the HP was strong enough to resist them and our weather, even during the cooler phase, was pleasant enough with decent amounts of sunshine, albeit day-time maximums were in the range of 7-9°c.

  From the 22nd those day-time temperatures slowly began to rise and the 24-27th enjoyed some fine spring-like days, peaking on the 26th at 17.0°c. Whilst avoiding night-time frosts, the 28th - 31st saw a slight dip in temperatures and also tended to be that bit cloudier. A cold front over southern Scotland became static and ever present before finally clearing south during the 28th. At the same time an area of HP had built in the Atlantic that would be record breaking for March, some parts of the UK seeing the bar rise above 1050 MB. Whilst 'Storm Jorge' at the beginning of the month had brought the lowest MSLP reading at this site for March (972.5 MB), this HP would bring its highest (1046.7 MB).

  However, once again with HP in the Atlantic, we were subject to a cold northerly flow and the temperature took a big dip, down to 5.4°c on the 29th and with the odd flake of snow. But under that HP the month was guaranteed a dry and settled finish.


March Rainfall Anomalies %                                                                                    March Temp' Anomaly   



   Rainfall totalled 94.9 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 14 days of which 11 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 5.40°c      --      The Mean Max' was   9.31°c     --      The Mean Min'   1.50°c.

   We had 9 Air Frosts in the month (year 16)                --      Grass frosts totalled 20 (year 52).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 3.9°c on the 3rd        to      a high of 7.4°c on the 28th     --      with a monthly mean of 5.7°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 5.6°c on the 7-8th      to      a high of 7.0°c on the 29th - 31st     --     with a monthly mean of 6.3°c



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


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