April 2023 - a mixed month for UK weather with thundery showers and one storm

Northern Ireland was warmer than average but for many in Britain, April seemed cool with some chilly nights. Storm Noa stands out but overall it was a mixed month, sunniest in the northwest, wet for Kent.

Blog by Jo Farrow
Issued: 3rd May 2023 08:57

April is the second month of meteorological spring, which includes March and May. Northern Ireland stands out as being milder than average but England was slightly cooler. It’s been a mixed and unsettled month. There was a hint of warmth with spring sunshine but that retreated and some places saw frosts again. Storm Noa impacted the UK on the 11th and 12th.

The highest temperature was in Highland Scotland. Kinlochewe reached 21.2C (70F) on the 17th. Wales saw 19.2C, Northern Ireland 20C. The lowest temperature was also in the Highlands, Tulloch Bridge down to -7.4C late in the month on the 25th. Benson in Oxfordshire had seen -5.4C earlier in the month with some chilly nights keeping gardeners and growers on their toes.

April 2023 has ended on a rather cool note but looking at the climate figures from the UK Met Office, the mean temperatures were around average for the UK overall. Northern Ireland was warmer than average, by day and night as were the Western Isles. Parts of northern Scotland were colder than average by night. The often easterly flow shows well on the daytime temperatures. The maximums were slightly higher than average for western Scotland but slightly lower for eastern Britain and much of southern and central England.

NW Scotland was sunnier overall, whereas SW Britain was cloudier than average. April is known for its showers, so recording rainfall data is tricky. One rain gauge might get several heavy showers but two miles along the road stays dry. Or vice versa. The far southeast of England stands out as being wet this month and SE Britain has seen some welcome rain. Further north and northwest in Britain there is a drier than average picture. SEPAs water scarcity report for Scotland shows

“The majority of Scotland is at Normal conditions with localised areas at Early Warning of water scarcity.”

Those areas are in western mainland Scotland, the Inner Hebrides and Arran.

River levels and rainfall UK

Env Agency March 2023 was the wettest across England since 1981 with monthly rainfall totals above average in all catchments across England. By the 19th to 25th April, “River flows have decreased at four fifths of sites we report on, but many still remain higher than expected for the time of year.”

Resevoir levels - drought

Devon and Cornwall had a very wet March but after average rains in April, there are now hosepipe bans (water restrictions) across a larger area. “Reservoir levels are currently lower than they were this time last year so there's already concern about the impacts going into summer.”

Rainfall was very close to average overall, but with regional variations, most parts of Scotland being drier than average, but southern and eastern England being rather wet. There were thunderstorms later in the month, giving heavier downpours in places. (top radar image from 24th April)

“Kent saw 185% of its average rainfall while West Lothian saw just 59%. At least one weather station in Kent (East Malling) reported more than twice its normal rainfall.” Met Office

The UK has still not seen Storm Antoni named from the western group. The Southwestern storm naming group have been galloping ahead this season and, on the 12th April, a low pressure which impacted the UK was named by Meteo France, Storm Noa. There were gales for the UK and Ireland on the 11th and even snow in the evening for Scotland. Strong winds and high gusts affected coasts of Wales and England on Wednesday with snow for the Welsh hills to start the day.

Storm Noa radar

This low occurred in the Easter holidays it was wild in Cornwall with trees down. There had been yellow warnings for Northern Ireland, western and southern Britain, for wind and rain. Met Eireann had yellow and orange wind warnings. Meteo France had amber wind warnings later on Weds 12th for northern areas and it was wild through the English Channel with an orange warning for the Channel Islands. The UK Met Office said 

“an unusually severe storm for the time of year and the most significant April wind storm to affect England and Wales since April 2013” 

More on Storm Noa's warnings

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