Broken spring: wind, hail, and temperatures below 20C until May
The tulip fields are a blaze of colour, ducklings are paddling about the canals and school holidays are around the corner, but spring is most definitely not in the air.
April has been a wet, windy and above all cold month. In contrast to recent years when temperatures of more than 20C have been common in the second half of this month, the national weather station at De Bilt has yet to reach 16C.
Forecasters say it is almost certain that the first official ‘warm day’ of 2023, when the temperature at De Bilt reaches 20C, will not be until May – the first time that has happened since 1997.
North-eastern provinces could hit 19C or possibly even 20C this weekend, but sun seekers will need to dash out in between heavy showers. A yellow warning has been issued across the country for Friday evening, with forecasters warning of high winds and local hailstorms.
For the first half of next week a cold north-westerly wind will keep daytime temperatures down to between 9C and 11C – well below the seasonal average – and nights could even bring a touch of frost.
Aside from three days at the end of October when the mercury nudged past 20C, the last time the Netherlands enjoyed a sustained spell of warm weather was mid-September.
‘We’ve been very unfortunate with the weather this year,’ Johnny Willemsen, meteorologist at Weeronline.nl, told DutchNews. ‘At this time of year we just need a good airstream coming up from the south and we’re well above 20 degrees.
‘But if you get the wind coming from the east or north-east in March and April it’s a lot colder.
‘We could get up to 20 degrees locally on Saturday, but the chance of it happening at De Bilt is very small. Realistically it won’t be until May.’
The recent weather may have kept the barbecue in the shed, but it has had no impact on the long-term trend of global warming, Willemsen said.
Despite April being unseasonably cold, 2023 has had one of the warmest starts to the year on record, with an average temperature of just below 7 degrees.
The most recent daily heat record was set on January 1, when De Bilt recorded a maximum of 15.6C – still one of the five warmest days of 2023 so far and the highest reading ever in January. Both January and February were around 2 degrees warmer than recent averages.
‘Climate is something you measure over 30 years,’ said Willemsen. ‘One cold month doesn’t tell you anything about climate change. Even in a warming climate we can still get cold winters.’
King’s Day on Thursday is likely to follow the trend of recent years, with temperatures of around 15C, but it is on course to stay dry, with little wind and plenty of sun. ‘For a lot of people, sunshine and 15C feels like nice weather,’ Willemsen said.
Temperatures could reach 20C at De Bilt around Liberation Day on May 5, just as the school holidays come to an end. Until then, the advice is to hold on to your hats.
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