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Highs and lows for April

You may think April has been a cold month, but for much of the UK it's been much warmer than average.

While not record breaking, it has been a changeable month with spells of cold, wet and windy weather, as well as some very warm weather. Overall, on average the monthly temperatures were above average for many however despite the warm weather, sunshine levels have been below average, except in Scotland. The western side of the country saw only around 70% of the month's average, but northern Scotland has seen just above average sunshine. Stornoway and Tiree have been the sunniest places in the UK this month, both stations recording over 200 hours of sunshine during the month.

The first half of this month continued the cold theme established during March, which was significantly colder than average, with rather cold and unsettled, weather. High pressure then settled near the UK bringing warm air up from the south and leading to a more settled, warmer spell of weather especially in parts of the east and southeast.

Mean temperature anomaly for April 2018, compared with the long-term average between 1981-2010.

Temperatures soared and the hottest April day since 1949 was recorded at St James's Park in London on the 19th when 29.1 °C was reached: just below the highest recorded April temperature of 29.4 °C. Local April temperature records were broken at many long-running stations, as far north as Yorkshire. However, in the west, and further north, the day was cloudier and cooler, with some showery rain in places.

Table 1. A range of climate variables for April 2018 showing actual figures and anomalies compared with the period 1981 - 2010
Precipitation Sunshine
Area Act °C Anomaly Act °C Anomaly Act °C Anomaly Act mm Anomaly Act Anomaly
UK 12 0.6 4.8 1.4 8.4 1 84 115 134.9 91
England 13.2 0.8 5.9 2 9.6 1.4 77 131 127.3 82
Wales 12.2 0.6 5.1 1.4 8.6 1 113.4 127 126.9 82
Scotland 10 0.3 3 0.6 6.5 0.4 88 97 150.1 111
N Ireland 11.7 0.1 4.3 0.7 8 0.4 81.7 109 131 89

The weather then gradually turned more unsettled towards the end of the month with temperatures slowly dropping back again.

Most areas have had above average rainfall this month, with a few places seeing seeing more than 175% of the month's long-term average total. Parts of southeast England saw heavy rain, accompanied by strong winds, spread across the area on the last two days of the month. The largest rainfall totals were recorded over the North Downs, where there was in excess of 40mm at Lenham in Kent. The rest of the UK that day was dry and rather cold.

Rainfall anomaly for April 2018, compared with the long-term average between 1981-2010.

Looking ahead for many areas May starts with some warm, sunny spells and temperatures recovering to the seasonal average after a cold end to April, before a more changeable period with short-lived rain or showers.

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