April 2023 Weather in Durham – Spring on Hold

April banner : umbrella and shower cloud

Outdoor Sensor Failure

Unfortunately I experienced a failure of the weather station outdoor sensor this month so I have limited direct statistics. Air pressure and rainfall were still recorded, but outside temperatures and humidity were not available from the 6th April 2023.

A new sensor was fitted on 26th April, but it needs to be left to ‘soak’ to reach ambient outdoor conditions, so meaningful data will not be available until April 27th 2023. The current conditions can always be seen at the right hand margin of any page on the site (you may need to refresh the page).

New Netatmo outdoor sensor
Shiny New Netatmo outdoor sensor

April 2023 Weather

The promise of March was short lived as April 2023 has been rather disappointing in Durham. April is often a topsy-turvey month, and this has been no exception this time around. Rains have been frequent, though there were no real deluges as such. There has been a lot of drizzly weather, especially late in the month.

In the latter part of the month strong winds and cold air have returned, especially from around the 20th, with cold easterlies, then northerlies.

It looks like warming up a bit as May approaches, but nothing to really write home about. Meanwhile, in Spain, record temperatures have been recorded for April, with 38.8 degC at Cordoba on 27th April. This is about 14-15 degrees above normal for the time of year. There were records being broken over a large area of the Spanish mainland.

This year is likely to see an appearance of the El Nino weather effect in the Pacific which will tend to make the weather warmer in the Northern Hemisphere. After last year, that doesn’t really bear thinking about.

April 2023 Statistics Graphic from the Met Office

April 2022 Weather in Durham – Average Temperatures, Continuing Dry

April Flowers


April 2022 was a very unremarkable month, temperature-wise.

The mean came in at 8.7 degC, which is only very slightly above the 1991-2020 average (8.3). After hitting 20 degC in March 2022, the top temp for April could only reach 18.9 degC on 17th. This is modest.

Early in the month, so often the case for April, there was an air frost. The minimum was -0.6 degC on 2nd April. That was the only occurrence. In April 2021 there were 10 air frosts.

April 2022 Temperature Summary for Durham



The dry start to the year continued with yet another dry month. The total of 27.7 mm was only slightly more than half the expected rain when compared to the 1991-2020 average of 51.2 mm.

The rains came on 15 days. Most of the rain total fell in the first half, with 12th (7.5 mm) and 7th (7.1 mm) being the wettest days.

April 2022 Rainfall Summary for Durham



Barometric Pressure

Again, an anticyclonic month, with 24 days. There was quite a large range in April 2022, from  974.2 mb on 7th to 1038.5 mb by the 28th.

The month came in like a Lion, with a notable cyclonic period between 4th and 8th. There were no further visiting depressions after that, none coming close to us in Durham at any rate.

April 2022 Atmospheric Pressure Summary at Durham




April 2021 Weather in Durham – Cold but Dry

Wow, what an extraordinary month! April 2021 has been a remarkable month in the long history of weather records. The month was notable for a) It’s frostiness and b) the lack of real rain in Durham.

April 2021 Temperature in Durham

April 2021 was actually colder than March 2021 at Durham by a significant sum. The mean for the month came in at 6.1 degC, a full 1.0 degC lower.

In April last year, the mean was 9.6 degC.

4th April 2021, Shincliffe Village. Glorious sunshine

Snow on 11th April 2021.

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The mean minimum for April 2021 was 1.6 degC (mean is 3.7) and there were 9 days with air frost between the 5th and 16th (and another two days that averaged 0.0 and 0.1 degC). That is considerably more than normal.

Low dew points and humidities were a feature, with air masses from the North and East being predominant. The relative humidity on the 23rd fell to 21%. Some days had a huge diurnal range,  18.2 degC on the 22nd (min 0.0, max 18.2) and 17.6  degC on 23rd (min 2.4, max 20.0) being notable.

Mean maxima weren’t too bad in comparison at 12.0 degC (almost spot on the mean) and it actually hit the magical 20 degC mark on 23rd, which was a glorious Spring day.

April 2021 Rainfall in Durham

The month was very similar to April 2020 in that very little rain fell at all in the first 26 days.

The eventual total of 16.1mm was almost all contributed in the last 4 days (12.5mm). There were no really wet days however, the wettest being the 27th with a rather modest 4.5mm.

April 2021 Atmospheric Pressure in Durham

It was the complete Anticyclonic month. All 30 days were above the 1013mb mark, making it the most anticyclonic month i’ve ever recorded. The minimum pressure for the entire month was 1014.6mb and the mean was 1027.5mb.

Unfortunately, the main high pressure cells were in the wrong place for us, bringing strong cold winds from the arctic and scandinavia, significantly with cold, dry air aloft. Indeed, if the synoptic patterns had happened in January, we would have had a very severe month.

April 2021- The UK Weather picture

Pretty much the whole country experienced similar conditions. On the CET (Central England Temperature Record) it was the coldest April since 1986.

There have only been 15 Aprils in the whole record that have been colder than the preceeding March, so 2021 is again exceptional. The mean minimum on the CET was 1.0 degC, which is the coldest, beating even the extraordinary cold April of 1917 (1.4 degC).

Only April 1917 had more frosts (12) than April 2021.

It was also the 10th driest April on the record since 1772.

The sunshine total was high, rivalling last April’s record.

The last 5 Aprils Weather in the UK according to Trevor Harley

2016 The first ten days or so were unsettled; the rest of the month was cold and quite sunny. There was a notable heavy snowfall in the north on the 29-30th. The month was 0.9C beneath the CET average; it was also wetter on average (112%), particularly in the east. It was slightly sunnier than average. The highest temperature of the month was 20.3C at Porthmadog in Gwent on the 21st, and the lowest -5.6C at Kinbrace in Sutherland on the 28th. The greatest snow depth was 9 cm at Crombie Country Park in good old Angus on the 29th.

2017 A CET of 8.9, about a degree warmer than average, and warmer than average across the UK. Rainfall across the country was well below average, with 48% of the UK average; parts of East Scotland (Fife and Lothian) had less than 5 mm. Sunshine was 109% of average. The highest temperature of the month was 25.5C at Cambridge on the 9th, and the the lowest -6.2C at Cromdale (Morayshire) on the 18th. After a showery start the month became extremely anticyclonic. It was warm until the 9th, but then dry, cooler, and with cold nights. There was a short northerly spell with some snow and sharper frosts between the 24th and 27th. The most significant rain of the month was the 30th in the far southwest. The month was very sunny in Jersey: Fort Regent saw 285 hours.

2018 The month had a cold start, with some snow. The minimum at Tulloch Bridge on the 1st was -8.8 C.There was a remarkable early heatwave midmonth, with 25.3C recorded in London (St James Park) on the 18th, and then 29.1 C at the same location on the 19th, just short of the 1949 record of 29.4. Temperatures of 24.1C recorded in London on Sunday 22nd made it the warmest London Marathon on record. It was then unsettled for the rest of the month. Overall warmer than average, particularly in the SE. The minima were particularly high. It was somewhat wetter than average (119%), although drier in N Scotland. It was a dull month, with 90% of average sunshine, particularly in the SW, although again it was sunny in N Scotland.

2019 A mixed month. It started unsettled and cool, but turned warmer from the 5th with easterly winds, before turning cooler again. Then Easter (late this year 19 – 22 April) was very warm. The hottest day of the year so far (since February of course) was Saturday 20, when Gosport (Hants.) reached 25.5C. Scotland (23.4C, Edinburgh), Wales (23.2, Hawarden), and Northern Ireland (21.0C, Helen’s Bay, Co, Down) had a record-breakingly warm Easter Sunday. Easter Monday was even warmer, with 24.2C at Kinlochewe, 23.6 at Cardiff, and 21.7C at Armagh; it reached 24.6C at Heathrow. The final week was unsettled and stormy in places. Overall it was warmer than average, particularly in NW Scotland. It was dry overall, with 71% of average, particularly in the southeast. It was slightly sunnier than average (114%). The higest temperature of the month was 25.8C at Treknow (Cornwall) on the 19th, and the lowest -6.8C at Braemar on the 10th. 58.2 mm of rain fell at Buxton on the 27-28th.

2020 Mostly anticyclonic with frequenty easterly winds. It was the sunniest April on record (151% of average). Overall it was warmer than average (fifth warmest since 1884) and very dry (40% of rainfall). Most of the rain in many places came in the last few days of the month. Highest temperature of the month was 26.0C at Treknow (Cornwll) on the 10th, and the lowest -6.9C at Braemar on the 19th. 38.4 mm of rain fell at Portsea (Hampshire) on the 17-18th.

Source : https://www.trevorharley.com/weather-april.html

April 2020 Weather in Durham – Very Warm and Dry

April 2020 was an extraordinary month in more senses than just Weather. By now, you’ve probably noticed that we’re still in lockdown in Durham (and the rest of the country). The confusion of the second half of March continued into the first part of April, but I got the feeling that people were gradually getting used to it. The weather had also been tempting to those who were desperate to be outside.

See some photographs from lockdown in Durham

Although I don’t record it at Durham, the Met Office have said that April 2020 was exceptionally sunny. This was apparent to me because we’d spent a good deal of time out in the garden whilst coffee shops, pubs and restaurants were out of bounds to us.

It was also a very mild month. In fact, the mean maximum temperature was way above what I would expect for April. The normal for Durham is 11.9 degC. In April 2020, the mean maximum was 14.8 degC (+2.9). The mean minimum was also well above normal at 5.5 degC, which is +1.8 degC above average. It reached 20 degC on 3 days – the 8th, 11th and 15th. So the second week was undoubtedly the best, although the 13th was a notably cold day as the High Pressure brought cold winds off the North Sea. The maximum was only 7.3 degC. There was also an air frost the following night, the only instance in the month.

As well as the previously mentioned warmth, April was phenomenally dry. There was only 3.9mm of rain recorded for the whole month. That is probably in the top 10 of driest Aprils at Durham (I await the report from the official Durham University station as this will give the definitive narrative).

Update : Only 1938 (2.2 mm) and 1912 (2.4 mm) have seen drier Aprils since 1850. Only four years have seen fewer rain days in April: 3 in 1912 and 4 in 1938, 1974 and 2011.

The cause of the good weather? Undoubtedly High Pressure systems which seemed to be in and around the UK for most of the month. If we define the High/Low borderline for Air Pressure at 1013mb, then April had 26 Anticyclonic days, compared with just 4 cyclonic ones (all at the very end of the month). The High Pressure did tend to wander though, and subtle changes in position made big differences to the weather we experienced.