March was the driest for 40 years
The past month has been the driest March for around 40 years, forecasters said today.
Provisional recordings show that the UK has also seen 25% more sunshine than usual over the last four weeks as temperatures climbed and Britons enjoyed their first taste of spring.
But there was bad news for those hoping for an early start to summer - April showers are on their way as usual.
According to provisional Met Office figures, the average rainfall between March 1 and 29 stands at only 39.1mm (1.5in).
This is expected to rise very slightly when the showers of the past two days are factored in.
However, it is still expected to be well below the 95.9mm (3.8in) norm for March.
The eastern part of the country escaped most of the wet weather with only a couple of millimetres of rain falling on Lincolnshire and East Anglia.
As expected, Western Scotland was the wettest part of the country, where a total of 91mm (3.6in) of rain fell.
Large swathes of the country were also graced with an unusually high number of sunny spells over the past four weeks, giving Britain a long-awaited respite from the cold and gloomy weather of the month before.
The UK as a whole experienced an average of 121 hours of sunshine in March - compared with a norm of 97 hours for the month and a figure of only 52.5 for February.
Met Office forecaster John Hammond said: "This has clearly been a dry month, especially in some parts of England and Wales where only a few millimetres of rain has been recorded.
"You can't get away from the fact that it has been a very dry March.
"Dry weather and sunshine often go hand in hand. If you have areas of high pressure, which often irons out the moisture in the atmosphere, then you are more likely to get fine and settled weather and ultimately you can have quite a lot of sunshine as well.
"This could turn out to be the driest March we've had for about four decades."
According to the provisional observations, Wales saw the most sunshine last month. A figure of 156 hours was recorded, marking a 60% increase on the average figure.
But mixed and unsettled weather is on its way.
While temperatures are expected to climb above average at times, Mr Hammond said: "We can expect some April showers."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Revealed: the bid to corner world's bluefin tuna market
A spotter's guide to a wild orchid summer
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...