Biggest 'high' for months
Mild spring continues
by Philip Eden
The main feature of last week's weather was the steady, long-lasting increase in barometric pressure. At midday on Monday the 18th in London it stood at 989 millibars but by midday Saturday the reading was 1034 millibars.
Such a prolonged rise in pressure is quite unusual and marked a major change in the weather pattern over western Europe and the north Atlantic. During the first half of last week a very moist southwesterly airflow brought copious amounts of rain especially to southwest England; at Bastreet on Bodmin Moor the rainfall between March 10 and 20 totalled 104mm of which 33mm fell on Sunday night 17th/18th, and there was almost as much in other parts of Cornwall and Devon. By Thursday the 21st high pressure was gradually gaining control, much of the country became dry with intermittent sunshine, and it was a very warm day in m any southern and central districts. The temperature approached 17C in places as far apart as Torquay and Chester on Thursday afternoon, and similar readings were reported on Friday afternoon along the coasts of Sussex and Hampshire and also in inner London.
There is an old saying, well known to mariners, which runs:
This certainly appears to be the case this time, the output of the Met Office's very expensive computers confirming FitzRoy's rather cheaper one-liner. High pressure is expected to persist throughout the present week before declining over the Easter weekend. Although nights continue to be frosty in many parts of the UK, afternoon temperatures are above the seasonal norm, though not by much. For the record Britain's highest March temperature was 25C in Norfolk on March 29, 1968.