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Spring starts with a mild and wet March

Meteorological spring kicked off with a mild and wet month of weather for the UK, with southern areas particularly wet compared to average.  

Although it’s felt like it hasn’t stopped raining for many, no national records have been broken and March 2024 will go down as a wet and dull month, according to provisional statistics from the Met Office.  

Wetter than average 

The UK experienced 27% more rainfall than an average March, with much of this concentrated in the south. A number of counties saw at least double the amount of rainfall they would expect for the month, including Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. 

Although Scotland experienced widespread rain throughout the month, it was drier than average, especially in northern and western areas.  

A map of the UK showing average rainfall amounts for March 2024. It shows it was very wet in the south and driest in Scotland.

A mild month 

The month started cooler than average, with some snow falling early on. But this cool weather was soon replaced with milder conditions for much of the rest of the month, with only brief cooler interludes at times.   

Overall, the provisional mean temperature for the UK was 6.7°C, 1.0°C above average. Southern England was much milder than areas further north, with a mean temperature of 8.2°C (1.4°C above average). Scotland was the coolest region, recording an average temperature of 5.0°C – just 0.6°C above average.  

England provisionally recorded the seventh-warmest March on record in a series from 1884, with an average temperature of 7.8°C.  

Met Office Scientist Emily Carlisle said: “Many will remember how wet March has been, with a succession of fronts and the influence of low pressure seemingly never too far away from the UK. Coming off the back of a wet winter and what has been a wet start to the year, many areas have very saturated ground, which has increased the sensitivity to rainfall events in recent weeks.”  

A map of the UK showing average mean temperatures for March 2024. It shows it was very warm in the South East and the majority of the country, but cooler in Scotland.

Sunshine in short supply 

Many of us have been looking forward to some welcome spring sunshine however, as you’d expect with the frequent rain, sunshine amounts have been in disappointingly short supply during March.  

The UK recorded just 95.2 hours of sunshine for the month (87% of the long-term average). Scotland was the only region to have seen more than its average, with 4% extra sunshine hours than the average.  

A map of the UK showing average sunshine hours for March 2024. It shows it was very dull throughout the county, with Northern Scotland seeing the most sunshine.

Provisional March 2024 Mean temp (°C)   Sunshine (hours)   Rainfall (mm)  
  Actual  Diff from avg (°C) Actual % of avg Actual % of avg
UK  6.7 1.0   95.2 87  107.8 127
England  7.8 1.4   93.4 80 94.3 162
Wales  7.0 1.1  86.8 79 158.2 153
Scotland  5.0 0.6  101.4 104 112.7 90
N Ireland  6.6 0.6  88.9 88 129.2 149


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