It was a distinctly balmy 12 deg. C. on a roadside thermometer as I travelled to work at about 6.45 am this morning, which in view of the fact that the clcoks went an hour forward earlier in the night, is equivlent to the temperature at 5.45 am yesterday.
I think if Sunday (i.e. "Sun Day") can live up to its name today in Northern Ireland, today might reach 20 deg. C. somewhere (each of the 3 days from Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th started off bright in the morning, but clouded over in the afternoon) then Northern Ireland might reach 20 deg. C.; yesterday's maximum was 19.1 deg. C. at Derrylin Cornahoule, Co. Fermanagh (see http://www.metoffice...st_weather.html
). The latter exceeds the 18.7 deg. C. at Ballykelly, Co. Londonderry, on 19th March 2005 (see http://www.metoffice...2005/march.html
). I am not aware of 20 deg. C. being exceeded in March in Northern Ireland except in March 1965, when Armagh Observatory recorded 21.7 deg. C., although it is certainly possible that it was exceeded somewhere in 1 or more other Marches. The BBC Weather forecaster yesterday evening predicted the possibility of the Scottish March record being reached or exceeded this week; I think he said the record was around 22.2 deg. C. (presumably 72 deg. F.) although he didn't say when this occurred.
As the March temperature in Northern Ireland was 1.5 deg. C. above average for the period 1st to 23rd (see http://www.climate-uk.com/page2.html
) there is no doubt that the month as a whole will be above average, possibly by more than 2 deg. C. which would make it among the mildest Marches recorded, perhaps since 1990 or even 1957. Although Northern Ireland hasn't suffered the degree of drought that has been recorded in parts of England, rainfall this month has been only 68% for the period 1st to 23rd and as it is predicted to be largely or completely dry for the rest of the month and may end up at around 50%. Most of the rain this month was in the first half; the same happened in Janaury and February. As sunshine, after a dull January and the 2nd dullest February on record, has been only 85% of the average for 1st to 23rd, if the last week is reasonably sunny, it could lift the value for the month to average or above, the first such month since November 2011 (October 2011 was also very dull).