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Braced for the coldest March on record

The Grand Union Canal in the March snow at Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire. Photo: Geoffrey Slack

As the weekend snowfall lay 25cm (10 inches) deep in some places in the Anglia region it won’t come as any great surprise that March has been cold - very cold. It now seems likely that daytime temperatures will be the lowest in March in East Anglia than at any time since Met Office records began more than a century ago.

Normally an average March day in the Anglia region would see a maximum temperature of 10.3°C - so far this March the average daytime high has been 6.0°C. Furthermore, with no significantly milder weather on the horizon for the rest of the month, it could drop even lower than that before all the final statistics are totted up.

That would put March 2013 into the record books for the lowest daytime temperatures since before 1910. It would beat the current chilly title-holder, March 1964, when the mean maximum temperature was 6.1°C.

Stormy seas at Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex on 12th March. Credit: Nigel Pepper

Daytime temperatures in March 2013 have been running at more than 4°C below normal and while the nights have been cold too they’re no so far below average. The average night time minimum temperature in the Anglia region in March is 2.9°C. Currently that figure is running at 0.7°C - so still a good 2°C below normal.

Lowest daytime temperatures in March since records started in 1910 Credit: ITV Anglia / Met Office

While during the day it may have been the chilliest ever recorded, once you add in the nights too March 2013 has a little way to go before breaking any records for the coldest March overall.

The mean monthly temperature is a calculated as the simple arithmetic average of the daytime highs and the daytime lows. Currently the mean temperature in the region is 3.4°C and there have several Marchs colder than that in 1970, 1962, 1955 and 1917. But with the cold weather set to continue, there’s still scope for that to change before the end of the month.

A snowy March scene at Holbrook, Suffolk taken on 24 March 2013 Credit: Michael Kemp

Not only has March 2013 been chillier than ever before, it’s also been dull and wet. A normal March day would usually see 3¾ hours of sunshine whereas this year we’ve seen only a little over 2 hours per day. The regional rainfall total up to 24th was standing at 51mm (2 inches). In an average March we would expect to see 44mm of rain (1¾ inches).

  • Highest temperature so far in March 2013 in the Anglia region is 15.9°C at Santon Downham, Suffolk
  • Lowest temperature so far in March 2013 in the Anglia region is -5.7°C at Santon Downham, Suffolk
March 2013 is one of the coldest ever in East Anglia. Credit: ITV Anglia / Met Office

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