Marlborough's April weather: this was a Spring month that did not spring!
We suffered seven nights with an air frost, two above average, the lowest being -3.2C on April 28 - as well as hail during rain showers on two days. There was snow in the rain showers on April 9 and sleet on April 16 plus fog banks in the early morning of April 13.
The coldest April night recorded at my weather station occurred in 1990 when the thermometer plunged to -6.9C, which was very cold for an April night.
April was a cold month with a mean temperature 1.1C below the 32-year average, the coldest since 2013. I have only recorded five colder Aprils in the past 34 years. There was a slightly warmer period of three days around the middle of the month with a maximum of 16.5C, which is only 2C above the mean.
The rainfall total was 49.6mm, which is 10mm below the 32-year average making it the first drier than average month this year. There were fifteen wet days, the average is ten, with April 10 providing the highest daily total with 9.6mm.
Due to the reduced rainfall and many days with drying winds from an easterly quarter, the evaporation from ground and plant life totalled 63.5mm, giving a deficit over precipitation of 14mm.
Solar power for the month was close to the average, but much less than the exceptional April of last year. There was a total of 114 hours of strong sunshine this year whereas last year we enjoyed 186 hours. This instrument was only installed in 2013 so I have limited historical data.
Gardeners will not be surprised to learn that the ground temperature at a depth of 5cm is the lowest for several years with an average of 6C - being 2C below the average over the last few years.
After a dismal month, we can look forward to a significant change in the scenery. This quotation form L.H.Bailey sums up the current situation, as with warmer air forecast we will see a profusion of leaves and blossom over the next couple of weeks:
“Yesterday the twig was bare; today the glint of green is there; tomorrow will be leaflets spare; I know no thing so wondrous fair, no miracle so strangely rare. I wonder what will next be here!”