Snow in March! Spring is here... and it's the coldest start since 1970
THE first day of spring looked anything but promising yesterday as snow flurries and rain swept across Notts in what has been the coldest March in the county since 1970.
Traditionally the middle of March sees budding flowers, bright sunny mornings and warmer temperatures.
But this year people have been scraping ice off their windscreens and turning the heating up.
Met Office forecaster Helen Chivers said the average temperature for March in Notts so far was 3.3 degrees, a low which hasn't been reached for 43 years.
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Paul Cook, Nottinghamshire County Council's assistant site manager at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, described how the cold has affected wildlife.
He said: "Snow in March means that the start of spring has been delayed.
"The development of flora and fauna is largely governed by soil temperature and because it has been consistently cold this winter, we are still waiting for plants to bud.
"We have some snowdrops out, with bluebells and daffodils starting to appear, and their growth will simply be delayed with the continued cold weather."
He added that birds were keeping away from the north of the country until warmer temperatures arrived.
He said: "In terms of wildlife, frogs have started spawning which may get frozen, and birds such a redstarts and black caps, which migrate to Africa for the winter, follow the air temperature and will not return to Sherwood or the other country parks until the warm weather returns, which should be from April."
The county council's gritting teams were out again last night and are on course to set a record.
Two years ago, during the severe winter of 2010 to 2011, the teams set a record for gritting runs – 108.
And with sub-zero temperatures forecast for the rest of this week, it looks likely that record will be smashed, as they have already done 104 runs.
"Along with the rest of the country, this March has been the coldest in Notts for around 50 years," said Andy Oscroft, who works manager at the council's Newark highways depot.
"One day earlier this month we recorded -5C, which was the coldest day since 1986.
"And although we may not have had as much severe and prolonged snow as we did two years ago, we are on course by the end of this week to have completed more gritting runs than we did then."
Some of the animals at Stonebridge City Farm in St Ann's have had to be kept indoors due to the cold.
It is the larger animals that have been inside, but as at White Post Farm, Farnsfield, they have needed extra bedding at night time.
For the latest weather, check our weather channel.
Have a look at our gallery of the snow here.