Following the interesting and varied weather of last month; rain, hail, thunder, rain, wind, frost, lightning, fog and more rain, Marham Matters spoke to our very own ‘Met Men’ about the ‘unusual’ April weather and what else 2012 might hold in store!
The Marham Meteorological Office has a team of seven working on forecasting, observing and recording the weather. Within the team there are four forecasters, two of which are also deployable as the RAuxAF, wearing the RAF uniform and deploying to area such as Afghanistan and Italy (during Op ELLAMY). The service is to provide meteorological information for the aircrew to enable them to avoid potential hazards and to warn them of problems such as wind, poor visibility and low cloud which may affect flying. The team are employed to provide a service to the RAF and the military and not as a public service; however the information they produce can also be used by the Met Office, for example, when reporting on the highest or lowest temperatures in a specific area for national statistics.
Whilst the Government will use ‘seasonal forecasts’, these are still only a guide to assist with planning and contingency measures. The five day forecast we now see on the television and the internet is regarded as very reliable, with technology improving all the time.
According to the team of forecasters at Marham the weather we have been experiencing recently has actually been typical April weather. The past few years have seen unseasonably warm weather in April which raises people’s expectations – when April is really a month of ‘sunshine and showers’. However this year the temperatures have been slightly lower than expected with a number of ground frosts and with one thunderstorm being the average, opposed to the four we experienced at Marham. The current drought situation and resulting hose pipe ban should be helped by the April rain, but a good many more week’s rain are needed to redress the 60% shortfall experienced over the last 18 months.
The good news for all of us already based at RAF Marham and for those looking to move here, is that East Anglia is one of the driest areas in the UK. Compared to the rest of the UK, Norfolk is relatively warm and dry with lighter winds than the more exposed south west. The hottest temperature ever recorded at RAF Marham was 34.8°C in August 1990 and the coldest -14.5°C during February this year! However the winter of 1979 stands out in the team’s minds with one of them recalling how he was snowed in the office for three days!
Thanks must go to the two Ian’s and Nick who contributed to this article, and who explained this fascinating subject to the Marham Matters Team, however when pressed for the forecast for this Jubilee and Olympic Summer they would only commit to an ‘average summer’ from that we conclude more ‘sunshine and showers’…?