Here's why the weather has been so bad in May - and when it will get warmer

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:38 pm
The weather of late has been pretty miserable, with dark skies, heavy rain and strong winds across most of the UK (Photo: Shutterstock)

The weather of late has been pretty miserable, with dark skies, heavy rain and strong winds across most of the UK.

But why has the weather been so dull and cold lately?

Here’s what you need to know.

Why has the weather been so bad this year?

The start of the year saw cool temperatures and wet and windy conditions, but it’s not been as bad as you may think.

March saw a 0.9C average temperature increase from 1981-2010 national averages for the month, with some high temperatures during the latter part of the month seeing several stations break their existing records for their warmest March day.

Alongside this, last month was the sunniest April on record, with central and southern Scotland and north west England seeing well above average amounts of sunshine.

However, May has seen wet and windy conditions for most of the month.

The UK has experienced persistent low pressure systems since the start of the month, with Wales and northern parts of England in particular “bearing the brunt of persistent, heavy rainfall and sometimes stormy conditions,” the Met Office explains.

Up to 18 May, some areas of the UK, including northern England, Wales and parts of the South West, had already had up to two times their total May rainfall.

Met Office meteorologist, Aidan McGivern, explains that May’s weather has been down to a blocking anticyclone.

This has seen a large area of high pressure sitting over Greenland, which has then pushed the jet stream to the south, with low pressure bringing “wind and rain followed by frequent heavy showers,” Mr McGivern says.

The cooler side of the jet stream has also brought below-average temperatures.

However, although this is set to continue into the beginning of this week, Mr McGivern says “there is hope on the horizon,” as to the west of the UK the jet stream is becoming much more amplified, with pressure beginning to build.

Mr McGivern says that “there is hope that this area of high pressure will gradually improve things,” as the week continues.

Is the weather set to improve?

Although the weather of late has been wet and windy with cooler temperatures, it finally looks like it’s improving towards the end of this week.

Wednesday (27 May) is set to see rain in the northeast, but this won’t be as heavy as Monday and Tuesday. It will also stay dry for the west and south, as well as turning a little warmer in these areas.

The Met Office outlook for Thursday (27 May) to Saturday (28 May) said: “Many places dry with sunny spells. Some rain likely to affect the west later on Thursday and perhaps during Friday. Warmer than recently and feeling pleasant in sunshine.”

Some areas are set to reach temperatures as high as 21C this weekend, with bright sunshine.

Looking further ahead into next week, high pressure is set to dominate across the UK, bringing with it mainly fine and settled conditions, with temperatures recovering and feeling locally warm in southern and central areas.

However, there does remain the possibility of some slight showers for some and the potential for a return of cloudier, wetter and cooler weather at times early next week.

Mostly dry conditions are likely to then continue or return through this period, especially towards the south and east.

There does remain the risk of some brief interludes of rain or showers, which will most likely affect areas in the northwest and far south.

However, temperatures overall are likely to be close to average for the time of year.