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A wet and dull April

It will be no surprise for many to hear that April 2024 has been a wet month. In what has felt like an unsettled spring so far, the UK has had its sixth wettest April since the series began in 1836, according to provisional statistics from the Met Office.  

Sunshine has been in short supply, with the UK provisionally recording just 79% of its long-term average for the month.

Wetter than average

The UK experienced 55% more rainfall than an average April, with 111.4mm falling across the month, making it the sixth wettest April in the series and the wettest April since 2012.

Many areas recorded more than their long-term average monthly rainfall, with Scotland experiencing its fourth wettest April in a series which started in 1836. It saw 148.9mm of rainfall across the month – more than 60% of its average and the wettest April since 1947.

Some places in Scotland saw more than double their average rainfall for the month. Edinburgh in particular saw very large rainfall totals, receiving 239% of its average April rainfall, which is its second wettest on record, falling only behind totals in 2000. East and West Lothian, Aberdeen, Clackmannan, Berwickshire and Cumbria, among others, also recorded more than double their average rainfall in the month. A rain-gauge at Honister Pass in the English Lake District recorded more than 400mm of rain.

Met Office Scientist Emily Carlisle said: “April has been a continuation of the past few months: often wet, windy and unsettled. April showers were present from the beginning of the month, with frontal systems bringing persistent precipitation across the UK. Although a high-pressure system moved over the UK on the 20th bringing some drier weather, by the end of the month, low pressure was back in charge, bringing with it more rain.”

Temperatures around average

April was a month of two halves when it comes to temperatures. The month started off warm, particularly along the southeast coast of England. Writtle in Essex recorded 21.8°C, making it the hottest day of 2024 so far in the UK.

Temperatures then dropped, remaining slightly below average for most of the last two weeks of April. This balanced out the warmer temperatures at the start of the month and resulted in a provisional average mean temperature of 8.3°C for the UK, only 0.4°C higher above the 1991-2020 long-term average.

Cloudy conditions often resulted in overnight temperatures being held up, with the average minimum temperature being above average (+0.8°C).


A dull month

Along with being a wet month, April has also been a dull month. The UK provisionally recorded 79% of the long-term average sunshine duration, with 122.9 hours.

One named storm

April saw Storm Kathleen arrive on the 6th, bringing heavy rain to Scotland, Wales, parts of Northern Ireland and the west coast of England. Kathleen also brought strong winds across the UK, with gales along coasts, particularly in the north and west of the UK. Kathleen was the eleventh named storm of the 2023/24 season. This is only the second time that the Met Office has reached the letter K since they began naming storms in 2015.

Spring so far…

Meteorological spring (March to May) so far has been wet. Both England and Wales have already seen more than their long-term average rainfall for the entirety of the season, while the UK has seen 96%. At this point in the season, we’d expect to see 66% of average.

Provisional April 2024 Mean temp (°C)   Sunshine (hours)   Rainfall (mm)  
  Actual Diff from avg (°C) Actual % of avg Actual % of avg
UK  8.3 0.4   122.9 79  111.4 155
England  9.3 0.6   127.0 78 85.5 152
Wales  8.5 0.4  113.3 72 135.8 154
Scotland  6.6 0.0  119.2 84 148.9 160
N Ireland  8.3 0.3  118.4 80 104.6 141


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