UK Heatwave Nothing Unusual
By Paul Homewood
What is it about our weather that makes our media lose all sense of proportion? Already we have the Mirror claiming:
Britain has just enjoyed its warmest May day for four years, with experts saying this summer could be the hottest in 40 years.
So how hot has it been in the last few days? Yesterday the CET mean temperature reached 18.0C, the highest so far this month. But in comparison with other years, this is remarkably unremarkable.
Altogether, since 1772, there have been 78 days in May as hot or hotter.
The highest temperature of 21.2C was recorded as long ago as 1780. There is also nothing remotely unusual about May temperatures in recent years. The period 1944 to 1953 was probably the most notable for high May temperatures.
OK, it is still relatively early in the month and therefore high temperatures should be slightly less likely. But it is not totally untypical. In 1945, for instance, mean temperatures rose to 18.8C on the 12th May.
The Met Office weather report for May 1944 makes interesting reading, and offers canny similarities to this month:
As with this month, there was a polar blast early on. When the warm spell arrived, note the shallow trough over France; the current hot spell has seen exactly the same set of weather pattern, which has drawn up warm air from the south east.
In 1944, of course, they had other things on their mind. Within a week, despite the weather turning stormy again, the D Day landings took place. We should be grateful we don’t live in such times.