Congratulations Piers for nailing the snow in early April and now the ‘record’ warmth for Easter weekend.. If you are interested in subscribing to his forecasts (going out to August at present) or wish to donate for research then please visit weatheraction.com
Easter is a movable feast that can occur between March 22 and April 25 so warmest/coldest Easter is a bit silly without context, such as what is the warmest 21st April on record and what about April 20th or 22nd? Looking at CET you can see even this varies on a day to day basis by 3 or 4 degrees (top pink line);
So let’s have a quick look at some of the records for England;
Easter Sunday in 2011 recorded 25.3C (77.5F) but fell at the second possible latest date of 24th April. Compare this to the all time record of Holy Saturday 1949 which hit a whopping 29.4C (84.9F), however far more importantly fell nearly a week earlier on the 16th April.
This is what the Met Office said back in 1949 [my emphasis];
The weather of the month was remarkable for a warm, sunny spell from the 15th – 18th (the Easter holiday period)…an exceptionally warm spell occurred from the 15th – 17th. On the 15th temperature rose to 75°F [23.9°C]. or above locally; 75°F on that day in Kelso [Scottish Borders] was the highest April reading for 35 years. On the 16th 85°F [29.4°C] was registered at Camden Square (London) and 84°F. [28.9°C] at Kensington and Greenwich. These values were exceptionally high; for example, it was the highest reading at Greenwich since records began in 1841. The very mild nature of the month is evidenced by the fact that the lowest screen minimum registered in Scotland was 26°F. [-3.3]; since 1864 the lowest minimum in April in Scotland has always fallen below this level
Compare this to now;
Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: ‘We have got high pressure moving at the moment giving most of the UK a lot of fine weather, this combined with the fact that the high pressure has dominated for the past few days is allowing the temperatures to heat and build. ‘It is allowing some record breaking temperatures to be set today and potentially tomorrow as we are looking at a high of 25C or 26C.’
He also suggested that the temperatures may also be helped by the fact that Easter has fallen a little later in the calendar this year. ‘The later in the year that Easter falls, the higher the sun is in the sky and the stronger it is,’ he added.
This is remarkably similar to 70 years ago in 1949;
So what happened with this weekends records?;
Three of the UK’s nations have recorded their highest ever Easter Sunday temperatures, the Met Office has said.
Scotland’s peak was 23.4C (74F), in Edinburgh, while that same temperature was also the high point in Wales – coming in Cardiff.
Northern Ireland beat a 95-year-old record when the mercury hit 21C at Helen’s Bay near Bangor.
England’s highest temperature was 24.6C at Heathrow airport – just shy of the record of 25.3C.
The previous record in Northern Ireland was set on 20 April 1924 in Armagh, when the temperature reached 19.4C.
Wales has had its hottest Easter since 22 April 1984, when it was 21.6C in Brynamman in the Brecon Beacons.
But Scotland’s record had only stood since 5 April 2015, when 20.7C was recorded at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire.
Note no context is given but most likely “records” only date back to 1910 as the Met Office rarely reference their older records these days. Back in 2013 when the coldest Easter ever was declared Philip Eden wrote;
This reminds us that the Met Office has decreed that all records now begin in 1910 and everything before that, often assiduously recorded by Victorian scientists, has now been consigned to the rubbish bin.
I raised the point in the correspondence columns of the Royal Meteorological Society’s journal, Weather, in 2007, and was assured by the head of the National Climate Information Centre that, where appropriate, reference would be made to records extending back to 1766 for rainfall and 1659 for temperature. It does not seem to have happened.
So does it mean anything? Well if you are out protesting I’m sure it did, however when the historical context is placed then any hullabaloo is much ado about nothing.