By Paul Homewood
The news has been full of the “hottest May Bank Holiday evah” this week. For instance, ITV News:
The UK has enjoyed its hottest Early Spring Bank Holiday on record when temperatures passed 24°C (75°F) by 10am.
The previous record for first Bank Holiday in May was a relatively modest 23.6°C (74.5°F) set in 1999.
The record by broken in the morning on Monday 7 May 2018 when thermometers in the south of England were at 24°C and above.
The highest temperature in the UK by noon was 25.1°C (77.2°F) at Gosport in Hampshire. By 3pm the temperature reached 28°C (82°F) at Heathrow airport and St James’s Park in London. The highest temperature of the day was achieved at Northolt in London when it reached 28.7°C (83.7°F)
No surprise that the tarmacs at Heathrow and RAF Northolt feature, along with another regular, St James’ Park, in the middle of London.
But, of course, the Bank Holiday is just one solitary day, which can occur anywhere between 1st May and the 7th.
How did this week’s high temperature fit into other days in the first half of May?
If we use CET data, we find that last Monday recorded 24.8C. This is well below the record high of 26.0C, set on 14th May 1965:
There have also been eight hotter days since 1945.
It is worth noting that days above 24C in May were almost unknown prior to 1945. Since then they have come along fairly regularly two or three times a decade.
As for May as a whole, this week has been positively cool, compared to 1922 and 1944, when the mercury hit 32.8C:
In 1922, the Met Office reported that record temperatures lasted for three days:
Whilst in May 1944, they noted some of the incredible fluctuations, which had occurred during the month:
We must remember that just a week after that record hot spell, Allied troops were storming the Normandy beaches. It might help all of us put a bit of weather into some sort of perspective.