We’ve just had the sunniest April on record
Every once in a while, it’s nice to break a weather record that doesn’t involve extremes that leave a trail of destruction.
Today, the Met Office announced that we’ve just had the sunniest April on record, with 212 hours of sunshine across the UK – seven hours more than the previous record, set in 1942.
Not only has it been a sunny month, it has also been notably dry, thanks to high pressure dominating the weather for much of April.
Almost double the average sunshine in places
The UK as a whole saw the number of hours of sunshine 43 per cent above normal, making it the sunniest April since records began in 1929.
While everywhere was particularly sunny, a few locations saw sunshine hours 70 per cent or more above average.
The sunniest location, relative to normal, was Morpeth, Northumberland, which had an average of almost nine hours a day of sunshine in April – close to double what would been seen in a typical April.
The map below shows sunshine amounts compared to normal, with the sunniest areas shaded in a darker orange.
Not only has the sun been shining, it has been a notably dry April, with just 64 per cent of the rainfall that we’d normally see.
England and Wales were the driest nations, with just 45 and 41 per cent of average rainfall respectively.
In fact, some southern parts of England and Wales had less than 20 per cent of the amount of rainfall that would typically be seen in April.
April’s weather in May?
No sooner than the calendar page flipped from April to May, the heavens seem to have opened, with low pressure bringing a change to unsettled weather.
The jet stream has not only picked up speed, but has also dipped quite far south in the mid-Atlantic, which is spawning areas of low pressure, then pushing them our way.
Today has been particularly lively, with unseasonably strong and gusty winds for early May – reaching 40-50mph quite widely.
There are signs that the weather will turn less unsettled for most of us by the end of the week, but the persistent sunshine and warmth we had during April seems unlikely in the near future.
Oh how the British weather likes to keep us on our toes, eh?
Graphic images: Met Office