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    Jim Andrews

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    UK Cold March Set to Be Coldest in 50 Years

    March 28, 2013; 6:55 AM ET

    The U.K. is poised to register its coldest month of March in more than 50 years, the U.K. Met Office said in its blog on Thursday.

    The first 26 days of March were an average of 3.0 degrees C (5.4 degrees F) below normal across the U.K., and the unusual cold is forecast to hang through the end of the month, lasting into at least the first week of April.

    The last time March was at least this cold was in 1962, the Met Office said.

    The coldest part of the U.K. thus far has been North England, where the average temperature has been 3.5 degrees C (6.3 degrees F) below normal. However, on a county-by-county basis, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire have been 3.8 degrees C (6.8 degrees F) below normal.

    Precipitation has been lower than usual on average but has ranged widely across the U.K., varying from much below normal to above normal. The outcome has been one of unusually high snowfall over parts of England, Wales, Scotland and northern Ireland.

    Average U.K. temperature as of March 26 was 2.5 degrees C (36.5 degrees F). The coldest March on record was that of 1962, which registered an average reading of 1.9 degrees C (35.4 degrees F). Comprehensive weather records for the U.K. date back to 1910.

    Average daily temperatures will run 3 to 6 degrees below normal through at least Sunday, the last day of the month, AccuWeather.com forecasters believe.


    Computer-derived (GFS numerical forecast model) forecast of temperature anomaly for the period of March 28-April 4. Medium to dark blue shading over much of Europe implies average temperature 4 to 8 degrees C (above 7-14 degrees F) below normal. (image credit: wxmaps.org)

    The unusual cold, which began after a relatively mild first week of March, has been set up by strong arctic high pressure over Greenland to Scandinavia. Persistent high pressure across the north has at once fed arctic air southward over much of Europe while also blocking the more typical flow of relatively mild air from the west. This is the overall pattern that is forecast to last into at least the first week of April.

    Severe snowstorms of March 22-23, 2013, arose out of a clash between cold easterly winds over the U.K. and a powerful Atlantic storm that stalled west of Ireland. The storm dumped snowfall of 30 to at least 45 cm of snow over hills of Wales and the English Midlands north to southwestern Scotland as well as Northern Ireland.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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