UK records coldest April since 1922 and frostiest since 1960

UK records coldest April since 1922 and frostiest since 1960

The Met Office has confirmed that last month was the UK's coldest April since 1922. The chilly weather was accompanied by air and ground frosts, making the country record its frostiest April since 1960 when precise record-keeping began. Despite the cold and frosts, much of the country also basked in their sunniest April on record.

April 2021 had the UK's lowest average minimum temperatures in 99 years. Frots and clear conditions combined for a chilly month, said the Met Ofice.

Since records began in 1884, April 2021 had the third-lowest average UK minimum temperature for the month, early provisional figures from the National Climate Information Center (NCIC) shows. Average daily maximum temperatures fell below normal, but not by as much as the minimum.

The country also saw its frostiest April last month with an average of 13 days of air frosts. This had topped the 11-day average set in April 1970. Last month's number of air frosts is more common for December, January, or February, as the average number of air frosts for April is only five days.

The average number of ground frosts in April 2021 was 22 days, which was also a record-high, compared to the average of 12 days.

Although the UK has shivered through its coldest April in nearly a century, much of the country has also experienced long hours of sunshine at the same time. All UK countries reported that their sunshine hours for the month entered their top five since 1919. 

Scotland and Wales broke their existing records for sunshine hours in the month, with the two countries experiencing 57 and 45 percent more sunshine, respectively than their long-term averages.

The UK has experienced its second sunniest April on record, with 218.8 hours, the Met Office also confirmed. The country has seen 48 percent more sunshine hours than April's average figure. All UK countries saw at least 40 percent more sunshine than the long-term average.

"April has been an incredibly notable month in terms of the statistics. Despite temperatures remaining stubbornly low in many areas, long days of sunshine was the norm and well ahead of averages, especially in northern England, Wales, and Scotland," said Mike Kendon, senior scientist at the NCIC.

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"A long, prolonged spell of dry and settled conditions was only interrupted by a wet few days in western Scotland in the first half of the month, and cold nights have been the norm across the UK, especially in northern England and Scotland, with the lowest reading coming in at -9.4 °C (15.1 °F) at Tulloch Bridge on April 12.

Kendon continued, "Areas of high pressure have become established over or around the UK, feeding in cold conditions and creating clear nights allowing any heat to escape. The high pressure has tended to prevent April shower activity that we might more typically expect to see at this time of year."

"The clear skies by day have allowed temperatures to rise in the strong spring sunshine, only to be lost again overnight. Early in the month, we saw a cold plunge of Arctic maritime air bringing wintry showers with lying snow in some locations, particularly northern Scotland."

Featured image credit: Pixabay

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