Weatherwatch: Easter weather as variable as day it falls

Stephen Moss


The tabloids had a field day, with lurid headlines predicting a shockingly cold Easter. “UK set for COLDEST Easter in HISTORY as SNOW hits Bank Hols,” the Express proclaimed. This was based on forecasts made a week or so in advance, which showed plumes of freezing Arctic air heading down towards Britain, just in time for the Easter break.

In the event, Easter 2018 was indeed a bit of a write-off, weather-wise. Daytime temperatures were especially low, while cool winds swept across the country, making it feel even colder. This raised the issue once again of the timing of Easter. Last year, Easter Sunday was on 1 April, just 11 days into the 35-day period in which it can occur. No matter how many times schools, tourist boards and seaside towns plead for the Easter weekend to be fixed on a date later in April, we persist in following this bizarre and disruptive timetable.

The rest of April 2018 was not much to write home about, either, although in the middle of the month there was a brief warm spell, during which London’s St James’s Park recorded a high of 29.1C, the warmest April day since 1949. But this was a short-lived respite from the prevailing cool, wet and unsettled weather during the rest of the month.