1. ITV Report

Chilly March days are the coldest ever in East Anglia

One of the many frosty March mornings at Hinchingbrooke Park in Cambridgeshire. Photo: Frank Hay

It’s no early April joke that you need to be over 100 years old to have ever experienced such cold March days as we did during 2013.

The month saw the lowest average maximum temperatures since weather records started in East Anglia in 1910. That means daytime highs averaged only 5.5°C during March 2013 compared to the seasonal norm of 10.3°C. The previous lowest mean maximum in March was in 1964 when it was 6.1°C.

2013 has seen the lowest March daytime temperatures on records dating to 1910 Credit: Met Office / ITV Anglia

Despite that chilly achievement, the weather has been colder in March on two other occasions because of colder nights. The mean monthly temperature takes account of daytime highs and nighttime lows. On this measure, both 1962 and 1917 were colder than March 2013.

Although daytime temperatures in the Anglia region during March 2013 were nearly 5°C lower than normal, the nights were merely nearly 3°C colder than average. There have been eight years since 1910 when the nighttime temperatures in March have been colder than in 2013.

March has been colder than any month since December 2010. So as a spring month it was colder than any winter month (December, January or February) in the past two years.

A snowy March landscape taken at Elmsett, Suffolk on 25th Credit: Timm Joy
Overall it was the coldest March since 1962 when nighttime temperatures are also taken into account Credit: Met Office / ITV Anglia

March 2013 is remarkable on a number of levels:

  • The lowest daytime temperatures in East Anglia since records began in 1910
  • Third coldest March on record (when we take into account night time lows too) and the coldest since 1962
  • Coldest month since December 2010 - meaning it was colder than this past winter
  • The first three month of 2013 have been the coldest start to a year since 1987
  • Very dull - with perhaps the lowest sunshine total since 1984
  • This month has seen only 2 hours and 10 mins of sunshine per day on average compared with the norm of 3¾ hours
  • The early hours of 31st saw the lowest temperatures of the month when it dipped to -6.4C at Woburn in Bedfordshire. One of the coldest starts to Easter Day on record.
  • The temperature fell below freezing on 15 days of the month - more air frosts than in either January or February
Sunset on the River Yare in Norfolk Credit: Eirrin Thompson

March 2013 will also go down in history as one of the dullest on record with the least amount of sunshine. The estimated sunshine total at the end the month was 67 hours. If that total is verified, it will have been the dullest March for nearly 30 years. In March 1984 there were only 48 hours of sunshine.

Although March has been wetter than normal there’s only slightly more rain that average - 52 mm (2 inches) compared with the average during the 1981-2010 period of 44 mm (1.7 inches).

  • Sunniest day of the month: 10.5 hours at Southend and Epping, Essex on 5th
  • Wettest day of the month: 28.4 mm in Lingwood, Norfolk on 8th
  • Highest temperature of the month: 15.9C in Santon Downham, Suffolk on 5th
  • Lowest temperature of the month: -6.4C in Woburn, Bedfordshire on 31st

The weather statistics used in this report are provisional and will be verified as new data is analysed in the next few weeks.

Some of the weather pictures sent in by ITV Anglia viewers during March 2013

Waves crash ashore at Britain's most easterly point, Ness Point in Lowestoft, Suffolk on 26 March Credit: Paul Nichols
Feeding time for squirrels at Flitwick in Bedfordshire Credit: Michael Todd
Daffodils suffer in the unseasonably cold spring weather Credit: Heather Smith

Click here for more March weather pictures from ITV Anglia viewers.

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