Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Spring 'the coldest for 50 years'

Snowfalls in late March turned this usually spring-like scene into something more wintry

The UK is on track for its coldest spring for more than 50 years following another fortnight of below average temperatures, according to provisional figures from the Met Office.

The average temperature for the three spring months of March, April and May is 6C (43F), making it the fifth coldest spring in records dating back for more than a century to 1910, and the chilliest since 1962.

Earlier figures up to mid-May had suggested this spring was on track to be the 6th coldest on record, and the coldest since 1979, but another cooler than average period in the second half of the month has pushed the spring temperatures down.

The main reason for the cold spring was the exceptionally cold March which registered average temperatures of 2.2C (36F), some 3.3C (38F) below the long-term average, making it the coldest March since 1962, the Met Office said.

This May has also had lower than average temperatures at times, and if there is no change once figures for the last three days have been included, it will be the coldest May since 1996.

Spring 2013 bucks the trend of recent years, which has seen eight of the last 10 springs recording warmer than normal seasons, with temperatures above the 7.7C (46F) long-term average.

All UK regions saw colder than average temperatures this year, with England and Wales experiencing their coldest spring since 1962 and Scotland and Northern Ireland registering the coolest spring since 1979.

The Met Office said: "The colder than average conditions have been caused by different weather patterns at certain times, but generally this season has seen frequent easterly and northerly winds which have brought cold air to the UK from polar and northern European regions."

The season is also on track to be drier than normal, but not as dry as the springs of 2010 and 2011 which contributed to drought conditions earlier in 2012, before deluges led to flooding.

But May is already wetter than average for the month, having notched up 86mm of rainfall up to March 28, compared to an average of 70mm, the provisional figures from the Met Office revealed.

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