Rainy and cool May so far 

A sodden start to May has already sent large parts of the UK to within touching distance of their average rainfall for the month, with Wales having seen at least 25% more rain than would be expected over the course of the whole month.  

The UK has been gripped by the influence of persistent low pressure systems since the start of the month, with Wales and northern parts of England bearing the brunt of persistent, heavy rainfall and sometimes stormy conditions.  

According to provisional figures from the National Climate Information Centre, Wales has already had 129% (110.6mm) of its average rainfall for the whole of the month, while the UK as a whole has had 88% (61.1mm). Despite Wales and northern England seeing the most persistent rain, all countries in the UK are currently tracking well ahead of the amount of rainfall that would be expected by this point of the month, with Scotland already having 72% (60.9mm) of its May average total, Northern Ireland 77% (55.8mm) and England 92% (53.9mm).  

Map showing rainfall amount in the UK from 1 May to 13 May

The totals so far remain well below what would be record levels of rainfall for the month, with the record for Wales in May sitting at 184.2mm in May 1967. The UK’s record rainfall for May was also in 1967, with an average of 131.7mm falling. 

In addition, despite the average temperatures in the UK generally increasing due to climate change, May so far has been cool across the board, with maximum temperatures, minimum temperatures and mean temperatures all currently at least 2°C lower than their long-term May average for every country in the UK.  

Map showing mean temperatures in the UK from 1 May to 13 May

Dr Mark McCarthy, Scientific Manager of the National Climate Information Centre, said: “Although it’s not unusual to see some downpours and cooler temperatures in May, the month so far has been particularly unsettled across the UK as the influence of low pressure systems has taken hold. 

“May picked up where April ended with cooler temperatures and unsettled weather for many, especially in northern England and Wales. It’s far too early in the month to talk about any potential records being set, but with rain in the current forecast, it seems likely that we’ll see above average rainfall across large parts of the country by the end of the month.” 

View the latest forecast in your area on the Met Office website.  

Provisional 1 May – 13 May 2021Mean temp (°C) Sunshine (hours) Rainfall (mm) 
 Actual Diff from avg (°C)Actual% of avgActual% of avg
UK 7.6 -2.7 65.635  61.1 88
England 8.6 -2.7 71.1 37 53.9 92
Wales 7.7 -2.9 70.2 37 110.6 129
Scotland 6.0 -2.9 52.0 29 60.9 72
N Ireland 7.8 -2.4 82.4 45 55.8 77
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