Winter 1947: Monthly Weather Report for March 1947
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Very cold first half, with heavy snowstorms; unprecedented floods in England and Wales later.
The weather of the month was distinguished by extreme cold during the first half of the month, with heavy snowstorms and deep drifts. the second half was milder but the weather continued unsettled with frequent precipitation. The thawing of the snow accompanied by frequent rain in the second half of the month caused unprecedented floods over large areas of England and Wales.
Pressure was high over Greenland throughout the month, while depressions passed east or north-east across the southern half of the British isles. From the 1st-3rd a belt of high pressure extended southeast across Britain and severely cold, sunny, mainly dry weather prevailed. On the 4th a deep depression approached our south-west coasts and subsequently moved along the English Channel. Heavy snow with deep drifts occurred over much of England and Wales on the 4th and 5th and heavy rain in the extreme south with glazed frost at a number of places.On the 10th and 11th a depression moved rapidly east across southern England causing heavy precipitation in the south. On the 12th a trough of low pressure initially over south Ireland and south-west England moved north-east and this was followed on the 13th by a depression which moved quickly east across England. Heavy snow, accompanied by strong winds which caused deep drifts occurred in northern England and southern scotland and sleet or snow turning to rain in the south. On the 16th a disturbance developed off our south-west coasts and moved rather rapidly north-east, deepening as it moved; widespread, severe gales were reported with rain, and in northern districts, some sleet or snow. A depression over Ireland moved slowly north-east on the 19th...
Pressure and Wind. Mean pressure was below the average, the deficiency being greatest in the south; the deviation at 9h. ranged from -3.9mb. at Lerwick to -14.3mb. at the Scilly Isles. Consequently the lowest pressure was found westward of Ireland and the highest over the Thames Estuary and north-east scotland. In Scotland there was a seven day's excess of winds between north east and south-east. The month was windier than the average in the south of England but in the north of the country it was less windy than usual. Gales occurred frequently in extreme south-west of England, notably from the 3rd-5th, 11th, 16th, 18th...In Scotland the stormiest days were the the 13th-16th, 18th...A widespread and severe gale occurred in England and Wales on the 16th. Among the highest speeds registered in gusts were 98mph at Mildenhall, 93mph at Cardington, 86mph at Boscombe Down and 85mph at Aberporth, all on the 16th.
Temperature. Mean temperature was 3.5°F (2°C) below the average in England and Wales, 5.7°F (3.2°C) below in Scotland and 4.5°F (2.5°C) below in Northern Ireland. As far as can be estimated it was the coldest March over Scotland since before 1901. the first 15 days were severely cold; in the south, milder conditions set in on the 16th and gradually spread northward. Screen minima of 10°F (-12.2°C) or below were recorder locally almost daily from the 1st-10th and again on the 15th. At stations as far apart as Braemar, Garvagh and Oxford the absolute screen minimum was a record for March. The extremes for the month were:- (England and Wales) 60°F (15.5°C) at Bromley, Goudhurst and Whitstable on the 28th and Bath on the 29th, -6°F (-21.1°C) at Houghall on the 4th; (Scotland) 59°F (15°C) at Fort Augustus on the 27th, -6°F (-21.1°C) at Peebles and Braemar on the 8th; (Northern Ireland 59°F (15°C) at Ballykelly, Castlerock and Armagh on the 26th, 5°F (-15.0°C) on the 4th.
Precipitation. The general precipitation expressed as a percentage of the average for the period 1881-1915 was 254 over England and Wales, 108 over Scotland and 156 over Northern Ireland. Over England and wales it was the wettest march in the long record going back to 1869. More than 300% of the average occurred over part of the Fen district and much of the south of England and the southern Midlands. In Scotland, more than the average was received in the east and south and more than twice the average in the neighbourhood of the Solway Firth and in a coastal belt from St. Andrews to Berwick. In strong contrast less than half the average occurred in the north-west and less than a quarter in the neighbourhood of Achnaschellach, Ross and Cromarty. Among the heaviest falls were:-
4th 2.09" (53.1mm) at Paignton
12th 3.24" (82.3mm) at Oakeley Quarries, near Blaneau Festiniog and
2.57" (65.3mm) at Princetown, S.Devon
16th 3.12" (79.3mm) at Broughshane, Co. Antrim
Rainfall occurred very frequently, the number of rain days over England and Wales being seven in excess of average.
Snow. Some heavy snowstorms occurred during the first half of the month. There was heavy snow over much of England and Wales on the 4th and 5th and in north England and south Scotland on the 12th and 13th. Snow lay 36" (91cm) deep at Lake Vyrnwy, 22" (56cm) at Crickhowell, 21" (53cm) at Wrexham and 16" (41cm) at Birmingham on the 6th. 17.5" (45cm) at Harrogate on the 10th, 34" (86cm) at Ushaw, 28" (71cm) at Chopwellwood and 17" (43cm) at Durham on the 14th. Drifts up to 16ft (4.9metres) occurred in mining towns on high ground near Crickhowell and up to 9ft(2.7metres) at Whipsnade on the 6th. In east, central and south Scotland the heavy snowstorms of the second week were said to the worst in recent years;heavy drifts up to 25ft ((7.6metres) in places isolated farms and villages and road and rail traffic was seriously interrupted.
Sunshine. Except in the north of scotland and locally in Fife and Angus, sunshine was generally poor. In England and Wales the deficiency was universal and great; the percentage of the average was only 62. at a number of stations in south-east and east England it was the dullest March onrecord. Less than 2 hours per day was registered over large, mainly inland areas of wales and England.
Fog. Occurred frequently, particularly in the neighbourhood of large towns. It was reported at 9h. on 18 days at Huddersfield, 13 days at Pontefract and 12 days at Durham, Harrogate and Princetown.


Source:The Monthly Weather Report of the Meteorological Office