Monthly weather forecast for the UK
A warm month, dry in the SE, wet in the NW
In the recent past many mild wet winters have been followed by warm Marches with an enhanced split between the wet north-west and the dry south-east. This March is likely to follow that trend, as we will continue to see a strong Icelandic low and low pressure systems moving across to the north of Britain but high pressure will often ridge into central parts of Europe from the Azores.
The month will start off in a similar vein to January and February with low pressure firmly in charge of the weather and a belt of organised frontal rain will move eastwards on the 2nd, and while the 3rd will be more showery, the showers will merge into longer spells of rain at times in many parts of the country. However, a quieter day is expected on the 4th with some sunny intervals and most places will be dry and sunny on the 5th although a belt of rain will move into the north-west of the British Isles late in the day.
The mild anticyclonic type will establish from the 6th onwards. A weakening frontal system will move south-eastwards on the 6th and 7th, bringing cloudy skies and some rain, although rainfall amounts over central, eastern and southern England will be small. The 8th and 9th will see a return to dry sunny conditions in East Anglia and south-east England while further north and west it will generally be cloudy and breezy, with some rain for much of Scotland, Ireland and north-west England, though sheltered places to the east of high ground will see some sunshine. Temperatures will reach highs between 8 and 11C by day in most parts of the country, which is not far from average for the time of year, but it will be warmer than usual by night.
High pressure will extend further north between the 10th and 15th which will cause the dry sunny conditions over south-eastern Britain to extend to most other parts of the country, and the generally cloudy and damp south-westerly type will become mostly confined to northern and western Scotland, Cumbria and the north and west of Ireland. During this period, away from the north-west of the country, temperatures are likely to be above average by day (highs of 13 to 16C are likely at times in the south of the country), and close to average by night.
High pressure is likely to retreat towards the Azores between the 16th and 20th which will allow breezier and cloudier weather to spread southwards, although rainfall amounts in the south will again be quite small. The most likely time of the month for an Arctic northerly outbreak is around the 20th when the high may retreat far enough to the west to allow northerlies in, but I cannot promise any widespread snowfall- the main "thrust" of northerlies may well end up shunted out into the North Sea.
A short-lived unsettled period is likely during the last third of the month with weather systems coming in from the west and bringing rain belts interspersed with brighter showery weather but I expect high pressure to again be dominant over southern areas in particular during the last few days of the month bringing dry warm weather, with sunshine amounts above average in the east and south of the country.
March 2014 will be another warmer-than-average month. I predict a Central England Temperature of 7.9C, and temperature anomalies (relative to the 1981-2010 reference period) of 1 to 2C in most parts of the country. The largest positive anomalies will be in eastern Scotland, while East Anglia and south-east England will have positive anomalies of less than 1C in many places due to some cooler nights associated with clear skies and light winds.
It will be a wet month in the north and west of Scotland with rainfall 50-80% above normal in north-west Scotland. Elsewhere it will be a dry month, with about 50% less rain than usual averaged over England and Wales, and some parts of eastern England will collect less than 15mm of rain, in contrast to the previous two months. The flooding problems in the south and south-west of Britain are expected to ease considerably this month.
Sunshine totals will show a strong inverse correlation with the rainfall totals. Averaged over England and Wales sunshine will be about 20-25% above average, with eastern coastal spots having the largest excesses, typically around 40%, and slightly below-average sunshine totals will be mostly confined to Cumbria and north Lancashire. Eastern Scotland will be slightly sunnier than average but the rest of Scotland, together with Northern Ireland, will be cloudier than average, with the largest sunshine deficits in north-west Scotland (25-30% below the long-term normal).
Forecast issued by Ian Simpson (aka TWS) on the 2nd March 2014
Monthly weather forecast
This long range forecast is updated at the beginning every month. As with any forecast at longer range, it's not possible to go into much detail and accuracy can tend to drop off toward the end of the period but it can still act as a very good guide to the weather during the upcoming month.