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April Showers

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Tourists walk through the rain.
The phrase April Showers has become synonymous with the weather during the month but it is some way off the truth.

Key Points
  • In the UK, temperatures as low as minus 15°C and as high as 29.4°C have been recorded in April.
  • The position of the jet stream can be the reason for the very heavy showers and downpours that characterise weather in April.

Also in BBC Weather

Air Pressure
UK Records
Jet Streams in the UK

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April can bring all types of weather from sunshine to thunder from fog and frost to mild muggy and drizzly days.

The lowest April temperature... for the United Kingdom is minus 15°C on April 2nd 1917...
The lowest temperature on record for the United Kingdom in April is minus 15°C on April 2nd 1917 at Newton Rigg in Cumbria, whereas it has been known to become very warm with a record temperature recorded at Camden Square in London of 29.4°C on the 16th April 1949.

One of the major reasons for the, often, very heavy showers and downpours that characterise April is the position of the jet stream. The jet stream is a band of very strong winds at around 30,000 ft above the surface of the Earth, which controls the weather that we see on the ground.

High and low pressure systems are formed when the air in the jet stream speeds up or slows down. In early spring the jet stream starts to move northwards allowing large depressions to bring strong winds and rain in from the Atlantic. one day the weather can change from springtime sunshine to winter sleet and snow.
The track of these depressions can often be across Ireland and Scotland bringing bands of rain followed by heavy showers (often of hail or snow) and strong blustery winds. So in one day the weather can change from springtime sunshine to winter sleet and snow.

April is the month that many people look forward to for many reasons. It is the month that epitomises Spring with the sun climbing ever higher into the sky and the evenings beginning to draw out after the clocks have changed to British Summer Time.

It is the month that we see most of the plants and hedgerows bursting into growth and the birds starting their annual courtship. April 14 is Cuckoo Day when their first call of the year is often heard followed on the 15th by Swallow Day and the promise of long lazy days of Summer to come. But beware April can always plunge you back into the dead of winter without any warning.

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