Driest in a century

Weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back at a generally warm April that marked the seventh consecutive month with a rainfall deficit.AFTER an 11-day spell of chilly weather with a few night frosts, last month became warm with a predominance of westerly airstreams from the Atlantic.

Weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back at a generally warm April that marked the seventh consecutive month with a rainfall deficit.

AFTER an 11-day spell of chilly weather with a few night frosts, last month became warm with a predominance of westerly airstreams from the Atlantic. notably dry winters it ranks as one of the most rainless periods in the last 100 years.

In much of the region April was the seventh consecutive month with a rainfall deficit and after two

Since January 2005 there were 16 months with total rainfalls below normal.

April rainfall was below the long-term average and in Ipswich it amounted to only 1.48 inches.

Other reports include Wattisham Airfield 1.33 inches, Felixstowe 1.30 inches and Belstead 1.26 inches.

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The highest amount of rain fell after midnight on April 30 and in the Ipswich area 0.40 of an inch was measured.

The highest temperatures of the month occurred on two days when the daytime maximum peaked at 62F(17C). During the first part of April winds were often fresh to strong and at times there were gusts of up to 40 mph.

In Suffolk and Essex as a whole the temperature reached or exceeded the average daytime maximum of 53F on 24 days.

Anticyclones controlled the weather for the last week of the month. Initially there was a belt of high pressure extending from Scandinavia to south west of the British Isles and later the main centre transferred to the south west of Ireland. There were three cold days during the month when the mercury struggled to reach 48F(9C).

Highest barometric pressure (reduced to mean sea level) occurred on April 28 with 1025 millibars and the lowest was 1003 millibars on April 1.

April saw considerable amounts of cloud and sunshine was reduced in most places. At Wattisham Airfield, where sunshine is measured by a radiation sensor, the total was 160.9 hours - 34.5 hours below the long-term average.

APRIL AVERAGES and EXTREMES

Maximum daytime normal 53F

Night minimum normal 38F

Air frosts 4

Ground frosts 12

Rainfall average (1903 to 2005) 1.68 inches

Days with measurable rain 11

Duration of rain 31 hours

Month's average sunshine 160 hours

Maximum possible daily sunshine 13.8 hours

Midday sun altitude (April 15) 48 degrees

Barometric pressure (reduced to sea level) 1013 millibars

North Sea temperature (10 miles out) 48F

Highest April day temperature 76F on April 16 2003

Lowest April day temperature 35F on April 2 1968

Coldest April night 23F on April 4 1996

Highest recorded wind velocity 73 mph on April 2 1973

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