Jeckyll and Hyde Spring 2016

By Ian Currie

Shakespeare passed away 400 years ago in April this year and he wrote many references to the weather. The seasons can be all mixed up as Shakespeare so eloquently wrote in Midsummer Night’s Dream,

 “ The spring, the summer,

The chiding autumn, angry winter, change

Their wanted liveries and the mazed world

By their increase, now knows not which is which”.

When the bard was just 14 years old there was a heavy snowstorm on the 16th May 1578

that could well have been inspired him to write these lines. Spring is often a fickle time of year. March 2015 was mostly a little below average for temperature, contrasting to the record breaking mild winter weather. One of the nicest days over the country as a whole was Good Friday. In Devon nearly 12 hours of sunshine was measured.

Some of the wettest places during March were in more unlikely places—the South and East for instance where some locations exceeded 100 mm of rain in what normally is one of the driest months of the year. It was boosted by the fast moving storm Katie that packed quite a punch on Easter Monday (28th March) . In Surrey gusts of wind reached 68 mph whilst the exposed Needles weather station on the Isle of Wight recorded a tempestuous 106 mph. My garden escaped damage though was deluged by 23mm of rain as the storm passed but local roads and  railway lines were blocked for a time by fallen trees. Further afield roofs were blown off, scaffolding collapsed, thousands of homes were without power and aircraft were diverted or cancelled. The Pennine hills around Buxton in Derbyshire were coated with snow. The storm followed a track similar to the more violent tempest in October 1987. It was lucky that Katie arrived during a Bank Holiday. There was far less traffic about earlier in the day when conditions were at their worst.

April 2016 for most was below par in temperature with the north of Scotland having the largest departure from the average but here it was drier and sunnier than normal. The second half of April had some positively wintry weather with snow covering some parts of the north of Britain and snow showers even reached southern England as winds originated from the arctic.

During spring 2016 the west and north west of the UK were blessed with some of the nicest weather, a delightful recompense for the endless rains of the winter. A good example was the May Bank Holiday. Whilst Kent and Essex had a north  wind gusting to around 35 mph and a temperature of just 12C to 13C whereas Porthmadog, Gwynedd,  reached 22.5C and there was nearly 16 hours of bright sunshine at Tiree in the Hebrides. Most places across the UK during May were warmer than average and some parts in northern Britain recorded sunshine levels up to 20 per cent above par.