AS County Durham continues to feel the chill, statistics released this week show it has been coldest March in parts of the region for 130 years.

The average temperature for the month recorded at the Copley Climatological Station, in Teesdale, was just 0.7C.

That is the coldest March since 1883, when, according to the Durham Observatory, the average temperature was just 0.6C.

The Copley station is operated by Ken Cook, a volunteer observer for the Met Office.

His records for last month also show above average precipitation – mainly falling as snow – with an air frost on 27 of the 31 days and ground frost on 29 days.

The lowest temperature recorded was -6C, on March 31, while the mercury soared to a relatively balmy 9.1C on March 2.

While Teesdale has experienced its coldest March since the 19th century, the Met Office says the rest of the region shivered in an average temperature of 2.5C, about three degrees below the norm.

Mr Cook said: “It now looks as if March 2013 could have been the coldest in Teesdale since March 1883.

“Statistics and memories can play tricks and there is more research to be done, but March 2013 will go down as one of the five coldest since reliable instrumental recording began at Durham Observatory in the 1840s.”

He said there was little likelihood of a change for the better for at least a week.

“High pressure will continue to our north and north-west, bringing a continuation of the cold north-easterly flow for this week.

“There will be some sunshine and it will often be dry but, inevitably in Teesdale with a flow off the North Sea, there will be showers and these will be wintry.

“I do not expect anything heavy and the lying snow will continue to thaw under increasingly powerful sunshine.”

He added: “The main problem for farmers and growers this week will be frost and it will be quite severe on some nights when skies clear.”

But there may be some good news on the way.

“There is a glimmer of hope that next week the westerly winds might return to Teesdale,” said Mr Cook.

“Some of my charts point to an improvement around April 10, but until then it's more of the same.”

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