UK seasonal weather summary spring 2011

Spring 2011 (March to May) was remarkable for the unusual warmth during April and the lack of rainfall during March and April, particularly over England and Wales. The dry conditions persisted through May across eastern England. River flows across southern Britain fell very low and the agricultural landscape of East Anglia and Kent became parched.

The UK mean temperature for spring was 9.1°C (1.8 degC above the 1971–2000 average). April was especially warm (anomaly +3.7 degC) – making it the warmest April in the UK temperature series from 1910 and in the Central England temperature series from 1659. It was the equal-warmest spring over the UK (as warm as 2007) and over Central England (warmer than 2007 and as warm as 1893).

About 50% of the normal rainfall was recorded across the UK in each of March and April, with only 25% over England and Wales. In May, western and northern Scotland received well over twice the normal rainfall but again relatively little reached eastern England, especially the far southeast. The contrast in spring rainfall across the UK was pronounced, with the west Highlands of Scotland accumulating more than 750mm but parts of East Anglia and Kent less than 20mm. Over many English counties, particularly in the east, it was the driest spring on record by some margin and in East Anglia and Kent it was also the driest of any three-month period.

The UK sunshine total for spring was 25% above average. This was largely due to an exceptionally sunny April, the sunniest in the series.

The comparisons/maps are based upon provisional data. Temperature and rainfall series from 1910, and sunshine from 1929.

See updates and further information.

National Climate Information CentreMet Office, Exeter

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