Met Office says March was the driest for 60 years

Katy Holland

March 2011 was the driest for almost 60 years, according to provisional figures from the Met Office. And it was also one of the sunniest.

The UK average rainfall up until March 29 was only 39.1mm - less than half the 95.9mm expected for the month and the lowest for a March since 1953.

England and Wales were particularly dry, with just 19.9mm of rain falling - less than a quarter of the average - and one of the lowest March rainfalls in the past 100 years.

Wales had the most sunshine last month - with 156 hours of sunshine in the first 29 days, which is 50 per cent more than usual. The sun also shone 30 per cent more than average in England.

Daytime temperatures were 1.1c higher than normal, at 9.5c (49.1f).

A Met Office spokesman told today's Daily Mail: 'We've had warm days and slightly cooler nights, which is probably what you'd expect if there's not much in the way of rainfall and a touch of sunshine.

'You'd expect there to be not much cloud around and quite a lot of high pressure, so chillier nights and nice days.'

April showers are expected to arrive on Sunday afternoon, with a mixture of sunshine and showers is forecast for the rest of the month. Predictions for the summer are wet too.

This - and a soggy February - mean that there are no hosepipe bans looming just yet. But watch this space...

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