The persistent ridge of high pressure responsible for the recent spell of dry, cold weather weakened and shifted east, allowing an influx of warm, moist air from the Atlantic Ocean to overspread the continent.
Temperatures averaged 2 to 6°C above normal, though chilly conditions (1-3°C below normal) lingered from Poland into northern Hungary as well as the lower Danube River Valley.
The pronounced warmth melted most of Europe’s snowpack, with a shallow to moderate snow cover (2-15 cm) confined to northeastern growing areas at week’s end.
The arrival of moist Atlantic air triggered widespread moderate to heavy showers (10-50 mm, locally more) in England and France, easing short term dryness and improving soil moisture reserves for dormant winter crops.
Farther south, 25 to 200 mm of rain across northern portions of the Iberian Peninsula eliminated short-term drought and boosted prospects for vegetative winter wheat and barley in northern Spain (Castilla y León).
Rain and mountain snow in northern Italy ended a two-month long dry spell and improved irrigation reserves for warm-season crops.
Showers were lighter (1-20 mm) from Germany into the western Balkans, but nevertheless still welcomed for dormant winter crops following a drier-than-normal start to 2017.