Good to leave April showers behind

In his monthly summary weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on a showery April with rainfall and sunshine close to the long-term average.

In his monthly summary weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on a showery April with rainfall and sunshine close to the long-term average.

MAY has come in with near-perfect spring weather, but in Suffolk April lived up to its reputation as a showery month.

It was often cold with the showers falling as hail in many places.

The month began with a brief spell of sunny and warm weather and temperatures rose to 61F(16C) on April 4.

However then a strong ridge of high pressure extended south from Greenland and introduced a cold north westerly airstream to the whole of East Anglia.

In 24 hours temperatures plummeted by 11 degrees Fahrenheit and snow occurred widely on the morning of April 6.

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Three days later a depression was heading for the British Isles from the Atlantic and eventually it tracked across England into the North Sea.

This low pressure system produced a spell of showers and brief sunny intervals that persisted for a few days.

A period of north easterly winds then took control as a depression over France increased the wind speed to 30 mph at times.

It was not until April 26 that temperatures finally rose to more springlike values.

East Anglia was then the warmest spot in the British Isles with temperatures touching 72F(22C) in the extreme north of the region.

In Ipswich the mercury rose to 69F(21C) and this degree of warmth was the highest recorded since September 23 last year.

Many people awoke to an unpleasant odour on the morning of April 18 and this was subsequently traced to manure spreading on the fields of Holland. North easterly winds of 25 mph had brought the smell 100 miles across the North Sea into East Anglia.

Despite the frequency of showers the total April rainfall was near or somewhat below the long-term average for the month.

Totals ranged from 1.42 inches at Belstead to 1.77 inches at Ipswich.

Other reports included 1.93 inches at Higham (Suffolk) and 1.51 inches at Wattisham Airfield.

Sunshine during the month was very close to average in Suffolk. Wattisham recorded a total of 163 hours and the sunniest day in west Suffolk was April 9 with 10 hours.

APRIL AVERAGES and EXTREMES

Maximum daytime average 53F

Minimum night average 38F

Average air frosts 4

Average ground frosts 12

Rainfall (1903 to 2007) 1.68 inches

Days with measurable rain 11

Duration of rain 31 hours

Average month's sunshine 160 hours

Maximum possible daily sunshine 13.8 hours

Midday sun altitude above horizon (Apr 15) 48 degrees

Average barometric pressure (mean sea level) 1013 millibars

North Sea temperature (10 miles out) 48F

Highest recorded day temperature 76F on April 16 2003

Lowest recorded day temperature 37F on April 2 1968

Coldest recorded night temperature 23F on April 2 1968

Highest recorded wind speed in gusts 73 mph on April 2 1973