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Monthly Summary - March 2019

 Very wet - windy and becoming increasingly mild during the later part of the month

    March was virtually a month of two halves - the first being very unsettled, wet and windy and which included two named storms and then it was all change during a very dry second half, which was a steadily improving picture to decent amounts of sunshine and whilst not reaching the highs of February (!) became respectfully mild.

  It was the wettest of any month since January 2016 with rain falling on every day up to the 16th and here at Maulds Meaburn 98% of the months total fell in those 16 days.

  Storms 'Freya' (3rd) and 'Gareth' (12-13th) brought the worst of the conditions, the latter including stormy conditions with gale force winds. That first half of the month experienced a constant conveyer of low pressure systems and after a lull from the 17th, it wasn't until the 20th that high pressure began to exert itself on the UK. This March has easily being the windiest in my records, a mean wind speed for the month of 11.45 mph (at 0900 hrs) and storm Gareth saw the 13th have a mean wind speed of 21.6 mph for the 24hrs.

  The first half of the month tended to be marginally cooler than average, although frosts were a rarity and we did experience some occasional wintriness with snow or hail showers, mainly between the 9-15th. From the 19th the days were all just slightly warmer than average, but coupled with the drier conditions and a steady breeze the ground was quickly firming up.

  Unsurprisingly the daffodils have bloomed earlier than average this year, indeed the earliest yet (18th March) in my records.

  MSLP of 1012.1 Mb was -0.4 Mb below the local average for the month and overall a mean minimum of 3.25°c and a mean maximum of 9.37°c saw the temperature 1.07°c above the ten year average for this site.

  It was the warmest since 2017 and of the eleven now recorded, seven have been colder and three warmer. The highest maximum temperature recorded was 14.5°c (21st), the lowest minimum -2.7°c (8th).

  Rainfall of 175.7 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 210.2 mm - Castlehowe Scar 248.6mm) was 233.6% of average for 2008-18 and made it the wettest March (of 12) yet recorded at this site (from 2008).

  During the month, the following was recorded: snow fell on four days (3rd, 9-10th and 17th), hail fell on four days (9-10th, 12th and 15th), and a gale on one day (13th). A maximum gust of wind exceeding 50 mph was recorded on four days.

  At the Met' Office site at Newton Rigg, rainfall of 164.0 mm (216.4%) was the wettest since 2017 and in a series back to 1900 March this has been the second wettest to 1903 (194.6 mm) (1 year of no data).

  A mean temperature of 6.41°c is 1.0°c above the average for 1981-2010 and in a complete record back to 1952 March has been warmer in 10 years and colder in 57.

  Locally, rainfall percentages were in the vicinity of 200%, some sites just over, others just below, but Haresceugh Castle was as low as 138%. At Seathwaite it was the fourth wettest March in a record that commenced in 1845 - only beaten by 1861, 1868 (the wettest with 691.9 mm) and 1921.

  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 108.0 mm (55.1 mm)

  Haresceugh Castle (Kirkoswald) 116.59 mm (84.6 mm)

  Brothers Water 420.91 mm (219 mm) and

  Orton (Shallowford) ??? mm (128.0 mm [average for 1967-2018])

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

 

  General Synoptic Report for the Month

   Low pressure was the dominant feature at the start of and well into the month and subsequently it was both wet and unsettled. 'Storm Freya' brought wet and windy conditions 2nd-3rd, the LP system building and deepening in the Atlantic, tracking NE and passing to the W of the UK. This saw wind gusts to 49 mph ahead of the system and 14.6 mm of rain on the 2nd was followed by 22.1 mm 3rd, falling heavily between 18-20 hrs 3rd and briefly giving some sleet late in the evening. However, the snow that caused minor disruption to the west of the county passed us by.

  By the 9th we had already see above average rainfall for March with the temperature at this point running to average - rain had fallen every day with some of the daily totals being fairly high; the 2nd, 3rd, 5-6th and 8th all having over 10 mm of rain.

  The temperature fluctuated either side of average, falling later in the period (7-12th), but there was still only the one air frost recorded in this time (8th - falling to a month's low of -2.7°c [27.1°f] [-4.1°c at Bewcastle]) when the slightest ridge of high pressure (HP) ridged north overnight.

  There was precious little sunshine in the first part of the month, the best coming on the 4th, but which was accompanied by a fresh wind. The 9th also saw some sunshine but only after a spell of snow first thing and this too was a blustery and fresh day.

  The 9-12th had a cooler and wintry feel with the UK sat in a brisk W'ly flow. This brought a number of wintry showers, some of hail, but this period would become very disturbed with the arrival of 'Storm Gareth'.

  Gareth built and deepened to the south of Iceland, tracked east, passing over the north of Scotland, before exiting NE. Late evening of the 11th saw the rain and wind arrive and overnight into the 12th that rain fell heavily, giving a total of 32.2 mm credited back to the 11th (48.8 mm at Shap).

 

The Progress and Development of Storm Gareth      -     left 00:00 hrs 12th      -     middle 00:00 hrs 13th     -     right 12:00 hrs 13th

        

  The 13th saw Gareth tracking east across the north of Scotland leaving the north of England exposed to its southern flank and this saw an extremely windy day (13th). The day itself progressed from cloud to sunny intervals, but the wind was constant - the gale force winds had come in the early hours gusting to 60 Mph and maintaining gale force just before 0200 hrs. The day itself had a mean wind speed of 21.6 mph with further strong gusts and then more rain arrived in the evening and overnight into the 14th.

  A new area of LP arrived overnight into the 14th and the passage of the cold front over Cumbria brought a quite violent shower at 0700 hrs. Behind those fronts a W'ly flow developed bringing a mix of sun and showers, some wintry, but the unsettled and wet first half of the month wasn't yet finished.

  The 16th saw another LP system arrive from the SW overnight into the 16th (gave 12.1 mm of rain credited back to the 15th) and the day would be a wet (16.1 mm) and stormy one through to 1600 hrs - but now the worst was over and so began a steady improvement.

  Pressure would slowly build, but it would not be until the 20th that it began to take control, but with a lapse on the 22nd that saw a little rain. From the 23rd we began to see increasing amounts of sun, which was occasionally hazy (28-29th) and temperatures that were comfortable and above average at 10-12°c, but not particularly high.

  However, the warmest day of the month would fall outside of the 'warmer period', on the 21st - as the HP over Europe began to build and push north it introduced a southerly flow and this brought the warmer conditions and 14.5°c (58.1°f).

  Apart from the 25th which saw a slight air frost, night-time temperatures were generally well above average, dipping at the month's end with two ground frosts.

 

March Rainfall Anomalies %                                                                                    March Temp' Anomaly   

            

 

   Rainfall totalled 175.7 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 19 days of which 15 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 6.31°c      --      The Mean Max' was   9.37°c     --      The Mean Min'   3.25°c.

   We had 3 Air Frosts in the month (year 23)                --      Grass frosts totalled 12 (year 49).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 5.3°c on the 11th        to      a high of 8.3°c on the 22nd     --      with a monthly mean of 6.7°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 6.8°c on the 13-15th      to      a high of 7.7°c on the 30th-31st     --     with a monthly mean of 7.1°c

 

  PREVIOUS MONTHS REPORTS

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OTHER ARTICLES

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

 

© Darren Rogers 2010-18

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