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The UK has been extra frosty lately, thanks to historic dry weather

That’s because it has been a month for the record books as the nation has already seen its frostiest April ever and is inching closer to what will likely be one of the driest Aprils on record.

As of April 28, London had only recorded .28 inches (7.2 mm) of rainfall for the entire month, nearly all of it falling on the 28th. However, this remains well below its April average of 1.34 inches (34 mm) of rainfall. The lack of rain hasn’t just been isolated to London, a city known for its gloomy conditions. In southern England, the monthly rainfall has only amounted to 7% of normal, while Wales hasn’t fared much better, recording just 12% of its monthly rainfall average.

Head north to the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, and you’ll only find .35 inches (9 mm), or just 22% of the average rainfall for the entire month of April. As a result, according to the UK Met Office, the nation is experiencing one of its driest April’s on record.
See if rain is in the forecast

As of April 22, the national rainfall average for April amounted to just .5 inches (12.8 mm), whereas typically 2.8 inches (72 mm) would fall. With only scattered showers possible in the waning days of the month, the UK stands to challenge the driest April on record, currently held by April 1938 when .55 inches (14.1 mm) fell and April 1974, when .57 inches (14.6 mm) fell.

Frostiest April on record

Though the dry weather has offered up several mild afternoons in the region, it has been generally accompanied by many clear and cold nights nationwide; enough to already cement April 2021 as the frostiest such month in over 60 years of record keeping.

The UK as a whole has seen an average of 13 days of air frosts this month, topping the 11 days seen in April 1970 and most since records began in 1960. England has recorded 12 such days, Wales with 11 days and Scotland 16 days.

“Dry conditions with clear skies and calm winds are ideal for frost,” CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward says. “A lack of clouds allows for heat from the earth to escape into the atmosphere. As the temperature drops, water vapor turns into dew on surfaces (condensation).”

On clear nights the ground is often cooler than the air just a few feet off the ground where the temperature is measured, Ward explains.

“So if the ground temperature is below freezing, that dew becomes frost.”

These conditions have challenged even the country’s hardiest farmers and growers.

“Considerable damage has been experienced in many gardens with flowers such as camellia and magnolias being scorched, and cherry, plum and pear blossom injured so that the fruit crop will be reduced,” Guy Barter, Chief Horticulturist at the Royal Horticultural Society, said.
In some ways, this April resembles April 2020 for the UK, as the nation concluded that month as the sunniest April on record.

Although April 2020 saw a remarkable 151% of normal sunshine duration for the month, it also saw just 40% of its normal rainfall. However, that would still be roughly double the UK’s rainfall thus far in April 2021.

Wildfires are fueled by April’s dry weather

The exceptionally dry conditions have helped fuel multiple wildfires in Northern Ireland. Just last week, the Slieve Donard region, home to the highest elevation of Northern Ireland and near the filming locations used in the fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” was at the heart of a massive blaze challenging firefighters.

Fire crews battled the challenging landscape both by ground and by air to gain the upper hand on the fast-moving flames. Elsewhere, fires in Cornwall, Dorset, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Orkney all posed similar challenges.

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