Near record March sunshine in the Anglia region as we're forced to stay home

In an additional bitter twist of nature, the order to stay at home coincided with March being one of the sunniest on record in East Anglia.

Sunshine totals in the region reached levels not seen in March for a quarter of a century as we were forced to stay behind closed door to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

It perhaps made the one period of exercise allowed each day all the more precious as rainfall was also much lower than normal for March.

Sunny skies over Elmdon close to the Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire borders on 8 March 2020. Credit: Joanne Joyce

According to the Met Office the sunshine total for March 2020 in East Anglia was 169.4 hours which was 53% above average for the month.

March has only been sunnier in the region on four other occasions since records started in 1929 - in 1995, 1933, 1967 and 1938.

If the sunshine were averaged out across the month, it would have meant each day had two hours more bright sunshine than is normal in an average March.

There was a particular sunny period as Covid-19 lockdown began. With 79 hours of sunshine, the week ending Friday 27 March 2020 was the sunniest in the Anglia region since August 2018.

169 hrs

Sunshine in East Anglia in March 2020

111 hrs

Normal sunshine in East Anglia in March

Shoeburyness in Essex was the sunniest place in the UK during March 2020 with 203.8 hours of sunshine.