May brings mid-summer weather

MAY was a warm and rather dry month with some notably high temperatures often more typical of mid-summer.

MAY was a warm and rather dry month with some notably high temperatures often more typical of mid-summer.

In most districts temperatures were above the average of 62F(17C) on 20 days and there were only ten days with measurable rainfall.

The month began with bright sunshine, light south westerly winds and a top temperature of 70F(21C).

Thereafter the weather deteriorated as cloudy and cooler conditions extended to the whole of the region.

A bright and breezy pattern then covered Suffolk with winds gusting to 35 mph on May 8.

Some rain fell on May 13 and measurable rain continued for the next six days with the highest wind velocities at one time reaching 40 mph.

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It was all due to a slow-moving depression centred to the south of Ireland.

Apart from a brief wet spell on May 26 and 27, the rest of the month was warm and sunny.

On some days there was unbroken sunshine from dawn to dusk and because of the unusual dryness of the air from Scandinavia, condensation trails from high-flying airliners rapidly disappeared and failed to ruin the rarity of clear skies in East Anglia.

A depression centred near the Faroes gave cloudy and breezy weather for the first day of the Suffolk Show and the mercury reached only a cool 58F(14C).

During some of the magnificent days of late May with cloudless skies and temperatures equal to those of mid-summer, many places registered more than 12 hours of sunshine.

On the last day of the month temperatures in Suffolk reached 72F(22C) - the highest level recorded since September 11 last year.

Rainfall was generally less than the long-term May average and ranged from only 0.77 of an inch at Belstead Hall, near Ipswich, to 1.30 inches at Colchester.

Other reports of rainfall totals during the month included Higham (Suffolk) 1.49 inches, Wattisham Airfield 1.45 in, Felixstowe 1.37 in and Ipswich 1.28 in.

Sunshine was above the long-term average and amounted to 248.0 hours at Colchester and 203.6 at Wattisham Airfield.

The sunniest day of the month was May 31 when the sun beamed down on Suffolk for 15.2 hours.

Highest barometric pressure was 1032 millibars (30.47 inches) on May 29 when a belt of high pressure stretched from the eastern Atlantic, across Britain, to the Baltic.


Average maximum day temperature 62F

Average night minimum temperature 44F

Average number of air frosts 1

Average number of ground frosts 2

Rainfall (1903 to 2008) 1.59 inches

Days with rain 11

Days with thunder heard 3

May average sunshine 214 hours

Maximum possible daily sunshine 15.6 hours

Midday sun altitude (May 15) 57 degrees above the horizon

Barometric pressure (reduced to mean sea level) 1015 millibars

North Sea temperature (10 miles out) 52F

Highest daytime maximum temperature 80F on May 24 1989

Lowest maximum daytime temperature 42F on May 4 1979

Coldest night 28F on May 3 1981

Highest recorded wind speed in a gust 55 mph on May 12 1976