After a particularly cold and wet start, followed by a dry and exceptionally warm spell, May could be seen as anything but average.
However, the early monthly figures tell a different story – statistics from 1st to 28th of the month show temperature, rainfall and even sunshine are very close to normal.
This May is a stark example of why it’s difficult to judge a month at its halfway stage.
Up to the 15th the mean temperature for the UK was just 8.1 °C, 1.9 °C below the long-term (1971-2000) average.
Rainfall was running at 79% of the average too, well ahead for just halfway through the month, and sunshine was behind at just 41% of the average. This tells the story of a wet, gloomy and cold 15 days.
But around the 20th the UK’s weather changed its mood – giving way to a run of dry and fine weather, with some remarkably high temperatures.
This included a new maximum May temperature for Scotland – with 29.3 °C recorded in Achnagart, Highlands, on 25 May, beating the previous record of 29 °C set in 1992 at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden.
In all, it has been the longest warm spell in May since 1992.
This means that, as we draw near to the end of the month, the figures for May now look very different and spectacularly average.
Mean temperature for 1 to 28 May is 10.1 °C, just 0.1 °C above the long-term average. Sunshine is at 104% of the average with 192 hours, so a little above what we would expect, and rainfall is just below at 90% of the average, or 59.8mm.
Clearly these are early month figures and the statistics at the end of the month will change somewhat.
However, the story of this May so far illustrates perfectly just how variable the Great British weather can be. From being a very cold first half of the month, to record breaking temperatures in the second – even if statistically we have had an ‘average’ month, it has actually been a very interesting few weeks of weather.
You can see full summaires of the UK’s weather for every month going back to 2001 on the UK climate pages on our website. The full summary for May will be available a few days after the month has finished.