April showers absent in driest spring since 1929

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The Independent Online
The first four months of 1997 have been the driest start to a year for 68 years, the London Weather Centre announced last night.

So far this year only 152mm of rain have fallen across England and Wales, the lowest level for the January to April period since 1929, when 124mm fell.

Last month was the driest April since 1984, with the monthly rainfall at 58 per cent below average.

Weather experts said that April showers were almost non-existent throughout the country - with some places having less than a quarter of their usual rainfall.

Until the arrival of some short-lived showers last week, April looked like being a virtually rain-free month.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "The weather during April was dry nearly everywhere, with many parts of the country having little useful rainfall until the last week of the month."

Temperatures were a little above the average - although warm days were frequently followed by frosty nights.

The warmest weather was detected at Bristol and Gatwick Airport on the balmy days of 9 and 10 April, when the thermometer almost touched 22C (72F) but the temperature fell to below -2C (28F) in Bourne-mouth during the night in between.

The most frequent sunshine was found in the South and East, but Northern Ireland and much of Scotland had a dull month.

The last week of the month produced a long-awaited change, as weather fronts moved into the North and West of the country.

Some much-needed rain fell, with Rhyl, in Flintshire, North Wales, having over 30 millimetres on 25 April, with further bands of wet weather on 26 April.

But the rain was short-lived and the month ended with many places dry, bright and pleasantly warm.

The weather forecast for polling day is also rain free, with England and Wales expected to enjoy a fine and sunny day.

Coastal fringes in the West may have rather misty conditions, with some patches of coastal fog. Inland areas should become very warm but coasts will have refreshing breezes.

Northern Ireland and most of Scotland should be dry with sunny spells.