Met Office explains May’s rainy weather and when it will improve

It’s hard to miss how miserable the weather has been in Cambridgeshire recently, with cold temperatures, strong winds, and rain despite it almost being the summer.

It’s been an upside-down year in more ways than one, with a heatwave making March the hottest it has ever been, and some very sunny days in early April which then turned into snow and hail later, now the Met Office has explained what exactly is going on.

Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern explained it’s all because of a blocking anti-cyclone, reports LancsLive.

He said: “If you enjoy warm and sunny spring weather, I’m guessing you’ve not been a fan of this May so far.

“There’s no denying it’s been wet – across the UK as a whole it’s been wetter than average… but some places have been particularly wet.

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“Across parts of Northern England, Wales and the South West, some places have had two times their total May rainfall – and that’s only up to the 18th of May.

“A far cry from, April, which this year was the sunniest April on record, with some places seeing well above average sunshine amounts – especially central and southern Scotland and North West England.

“April’s weather was because we saw a blocking anti-cyclone. This is effectively a large area of high pressure that sits stubbornly in one place and helps to divert the jet stream.

“During April, that high was sat close to the UK and the jet stream was split into two, like a boulder in stream, the flow was diverted away from the UK – taking cloud and rain away from us and leaving us with clear skies.

People enjoy the sunshine on March 30, 2021 in Cambridge, England.
(Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“It also left us in a relatively cool air flow and that meant, despite the sunshine by day, we had clear skies at night, which led to the frostiest April on record.”

He added: “May’s weather has also been down to a blocking anti-cyclone – but, if you don’t like the rain, you could argue this blocking high has been in the wrong place. This time, it’s been over Greenland and that helped to push the jet stream well to the south, compared to normal.

“We’ve been in a dip of the jet stream, where low pressure moves in and mills around for several days – so we’ve seen wind and rain, followed by frequent heavy showers.

“We’ve also been to the cool side of that jet stream, so temperatures have been below average.

“The big question is how long will it last?”

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Aidan said that Friday’s area of low pressure – which brought “very unsettled conditions across the UK” – will slowly move into the North sea during Saturday.

“Then another low takes it’s place on Sunday, full of bouts of wind and rain, followed by further heavy showers at the start of next week,” said Aiden.

However “there is hope on the horizon” on Wednesday, because to the west of the UK “the jet stream become much more amplified”.

He said pressure will start to build in a big ridge in the jet stream – but this will take its time.

“By Wednesday, we’ve still got low pressure near the UK, so there will still be some showers about – but there is hope that this area of high pressure will gradually improve things through next week,” he added.

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