Scandinavia brought us a warm front

EVENING Star weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on a warm March, with an exceptional amount of sunshine and a short-lived cold spell.OVER a broad area of Suffolk, March was a warm and sunny month with the temperature reaching or exceeding the average on 24 days.

EVENING Star weatherman KEN BLOWERS looks back on a warm March, with an exceptional amount of sunshine and a short-lived cold spell.

OVER a broad area of Suffolk, March was a warm and sunny month with the temperature reaching or exceeding the average on 24 days.

In some parts of the region there were more than 180 hours of bright sunshine, and at Wattisham Airfield it was the third sunniest March since records began 40 years ago.

By March 12 parts of East Anglia recorded temperatures of 66F(19C) - higher than those at many holiday resorts in the Mediterranean.


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The month began with mild and windy weather, and measurable rain fell on five days of the first week.

North westerly winds were strong and gusty and on the evening of March 18 there were gusts of just over 50mph.

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A notable feature of the last three months has been the brief cold spells, with snow that quickly melted.

March was no exception and a plunge of cold air from the Arctic reached the region on March 19 bringing a dramatic fall in temperatures.

The maximum daytime temperature at Ipswich on March 20 was only 45F(7C).

There was snow on two days but it rapidly melted as the mercury climbed to 47F(8C).

The most memorable event of the month was the warm and sunny spell during this past week, when all areas enjoyed the rarity of clear skies from dawn until dusk. It was due to a large and persistent anticyclone centred over Scandinavia, which extended south westward to the British Isles.

This gave rather cold winds along the east coast, but inland Suffolk basked in warm sunshine more typical of late May.

March was an exceptionally sunny month and at Wattisham a total 168.6 hours of bright sunshine were recorded. In parts of Essex the sunshine was just over 180 hours.

Rainfall for the month was close to average in most localities and at Ipswich the cumulative figure was 1.69 inches. Other reports included Wattisham 2.22 inches, Belstead Hall 1.78 inches, Colchester 1.59 inches and Higham (Suffolk) 1.14 inches.

The long-term March average at Ipswich is 1.62 inches.

MARCH AVERAGES and EXTREMES

Maximum daytime temperature 48F

Minimum night average 35F

Average number of air frosts 10

Average number of ground frosts 16

Rainfall (1903 to 2006) 1.62 inches

Average days with rain 12

Month's average rainfall duration 44 hours

Average sunshine for March 109 hours

Maximum possible daily sunshine 11.5 hours

Midday sun altitude (March 15) 36 degrees

Average barometric pressure (sea level) 1015 millibars

North Sea temperature (10 miles out) 45F

Highest day maximum temperature 72F on March 29 1965

Lowest day maximum temperature 31F on March 1 1986

Coldest night 18F on March 8 1970

Highest wind speed in a gust 76 mph on March 24 1986

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