Weatherwatch

Weatherwatch: A proverb says that March 'comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb'

March winds and April showers, / Brings forth May flowers. Or so the children's rhyme would have us believe. Another proverb says that March "comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" - referring to the month's position between winter and spring. In fact if March is known for anything it is variability: temperatures can plummet well below freezing or reach heatwave conditions, with a range of almost 50 degrees between the lowest and highest recorded temperatures. March can also be soaking wet or bone dry - with sunshine, snow, rain, sleet and hail (which is said to fall more frequently in March than any other month).

But is March particularly windy compared to the other 11 months of the year? According to Torro, the Tornado and Storm Research Division, the windiest month of the year is January. The most notable wind storms - as listed in the reference work Climates of the British Isles - have occurred mainly in January and February, with the rest in October and December. They include the storms of December 1703, January 1953, January 1990 and October 1987.

Does March produce greater wind speeds than other months? The evidence suggests not: almost all the highest wind speeds recorded have occurred between October and February. One notable exception: on 20 March 1986 a wind speed of 173mph was noted by the Cairngorm weather station - the highest officially recorded in the UK.

Contributor

Stephen Moss

The GuardianTramp

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