What’s Going on With the Weather?
Posted on May 24, 2021
I had Stockbridge Common all to myself tonight. That’s because it was cold and showery with dark clouds all around. I got soaked on my first lap, so I did another to dry off, only to get caught by another deluge. It felt like winter.
Normally on a late spring evening, Stockbridge Common is busy with walkers taking in the evening sunshine before retiring to the Greyhound to spend £12 on a glass of wine and not bat an eyelid. Tonight, it was desolate, which was nice in a way, but also a bit depressing.
April and May Shocker
May has been a shocker of a month. Barely a day has passed without heavy rain or showers. To make it worse these are not humid thundery showers. They are cold and harsh, courtesy of being trapped in an arctic airflow that has been with us since, ironically, the end of winter.
April was freezing but bone dry. Many places saw only a
couple of flakes of snow as their only form of precipitation. Most nights saw
frost with many places experiencing below freezing temperatures on over 20 of
the 30 nights of the month. It was for many, the coldest, yet sunniest and driest
April ever recorded.
May arrived, and the cold air stayed with us, triggering huge downpours as the cold air mixed with the warmth of the spring sun. The downpours lasted for hours and two ‘autumn storms’ passed through, smashing up the equipment at our cricket ground. In the last week of the month, it looks like the coldest and sunniest ever April, will be followed by the coldest and wettest May as well.
That is utterly bizarre. To put it into perspective, unless something sudden happens, the 29th of March will be the warmest day of spring (It reached 24 centigrade in the south) in 2021. I don’t think I can remember experiencing anything like this April and May in my lifetime. It is like winter has been six months long.
Is it a Freak?
Is this all just a freak, or are we going to have to put up with this from now on? Did the weather always do things like this and we just didn’t record it properly? Hot and cold (hot mainly) temperatures seem to be being broken all the time. The 29th of March was the warmest March day ever recorded. The May Bank Holiday a month later, was the lowest ever recorded temperature on that day (a UK maximum of 14 centigrade).
Two or three years ago we recorded our hottest Easter, May, and August Bank Holidays all in one year. We had some bizarre transient heat with it peaking out at 37 centigrade (another UK record) before diving down to 20 centigrade within 24 hours. Those summer periods where there is a slow build up of heat seem to have been replaced by dramatic but brief pulses.
Winter seems the same. The ‘Beast from the East’ only lasted a week or so before a return to milder weather, only to be replaced by a brief second coming a few weeks later. These events happened not in January but March. A maximum of -4c in Southern England being one of the coldest March days in British history. All these events have happened since 2016.
The weather does look like it is going to settle down this week but there is no sign of hot weather. That’s not to say it won’t come. It wouldn’t be surprising if we saw some waves of heat later in the summer like we did last August when it hit 37 centigrade in earlier August for a couple of days.
For now, I will be grateful just to get the shorts out and put the wellies away!