The Weather, by Fred Crawford

WHAT a remarkable month April was! April showers were remarkable for there not being any, and there was more sunshine and higher temperatures than we usually have.

For much of the month, we in the UK were under the influence of a high pressure area, keeping the weather stable. Sometimes, a breeze off the North Sea brought us low cloud and mist, especially in the third week of the month. The contrast with the temperatures of April 2010 was notable. For example, in April 2010, there were eight days of temperatures below 10C, this year there were none. There were two nights of sub-zero temperatures last April, but none this year.

The month’s highest temperature in our area was 22.9C on the sixth, and the lowest was 0.3C in the early hours of the 27th. The coldest day was on the 11th, but even then it reached 13.2C.

A breezy day began the month, and while there were some days with strong winds, there were never any gales. The warm day on the sixth was the warmest April day in recent years.

The mild weather continued into the second week of the month, and there was some rain on the 11th and 13th.

During the run-up to Easter, the high pressure area remained, and the whole country enjoyed a fine weekend. Our temperatures were not as high for Easter as those in the Midlands and South of England, but we were still able to have great pleasure in the sun.

The 20th and 22nd had misty spells and the 23rd had the last appreciable rain for the month. The month ended with several glorious days filled with sunshine.

Rainfall was meagre. Our area had 16mm - about half an inch - and only 2001 and 2002 in recent years were comparable. In the past decades, though, a dry April has led to disappointing summers. Let us hope that nothing of the sort happens this year, though farmers will soon be getting worried if the dry spell continues.

Visiting swallows have already been seen in the area, though not in large numbers yet. This has been a spectacular year for blossom on various trees and plants, and it is also superb for bluebells.

Though it is still spring, the ultra-violet rays of the sun can still pack a punch, and it is well to wear sun cream.

Recently, we have seen spectacular shots on the television of the dreadful destruction caused by tornadoes in the southern United States. Thankfully, we are spared this type of extreme weather, but it has been an exceptionally bad year for the USA. There have been many fatalities, and the cost of repairing the damage will be billions of dollars. Also in America, western states like Texas are suffering extended drought conditions. Elsewhere in the world, there were severe dust storms in the Middle East, causing flights to be cancelled and schools closed.

Back home the month of May began as April ended, with long hours of sunshine and a forecast for similar conditions to continue.