Met Office expert explains why May weather has been so wet, cold and miserable

Britain’s soggy May washout and persistent gale force winds are thanks to a jet stream from Greenland.

This year’s unusually wintry spring has inconveniently coincided with the long-awaited lifting of lockdown restrictions after months spent largely indoors.

The Met Office said up to Saturday the UK had seen an average of 109.3mm of rainfall – 157 percent of the average for the usually dry and sunny month.

This makes it the 10th wettest on record, with nine days still to go.

Meteorologist Aidan McGivern said: “If you enjoy warm and sunny spring weather, I am guessing you have not been a fan of this
May so far.

“There’s no denying it’s been wet. Some places have had two times their usual total May rainfall – and that’s only up to May 18.

This month has so far been the 10th wettest May on record

Met Office expert explains why May weather has been so wet, cold and miserable
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“A far cry from April, which this year was the sunniest April on record.”

Although April was cold, a blocking anti-cyclone near the UK helped divert the jet stream, taking cloud and rain away.

Aidan said: “May’s weather has also been down to a blocking anti-cyclone – but this time, it’s over Greenland and that helped push the jet stream to the south.”

Weather chart showing rain
More rain is on the cards for the rest of the month

As the dip of the jet stream lingers, low pressure moves in and mills around for several days, bringing rain.

However, hope is coming as a long-awaited heatwave could well be on the cards with temperatures as high as 24C from June 1.

Forecasters say the heat will begin in the south and gradually rise in the first week of the next month.

Weather chart for Tuesday, May 25
May has seen rain, gale force winds and thunderstorms

A jet stream from Greenland is to blame for the wintry May in Britain
A jet stream from Greenland is to blame for the wintry May in Britain

Kent, London and parts of the south are all braced for temperatures in the mid-twenties for at least the first few days of next month.

Then there’s the possibility of a 16 day scorcher from June 15 to July, thanks to a 700-mile wide “heat bubble”, say some forecasts.

John Hammond, of Weathertrending said: “Some warmer days are in the offing, with temperatures in the 20s.”

He added the conditions would be “very pleasant”.

UK 5 day weather forecast


Patchy rain in the north and east will be replaced by sunny spells and heavy showers – particularly for northern England. Fewer showers elsewhere with sunny spells, though rain will affect Cornwall and parts of Devon during afternoon. Remaining cool.


Showers dying out for most though a few persisting for central England and East Anglia with more rain arriving for east Scotland and northeast England. Chilly in places.


Rain in the northeast breaking up into showers, some heavy but less so than Monday and Tuesday. Staying dry for the west and south and turning a little warmer here.

Outlook for Thursday to Saturday:

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.

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