Submitted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne
Twenty-two years ago, in 1997, the month of May set a record for the lowest mean temperature since records began in 1914. We almost matched it this year with a mean of 6.8C against a norm of 9.1C.
Indeed, the highest the mercury climbed to was 17.1C, not even reaching April’s maximum of 17.3C. It was warmer back from the lake but persistent north-easterly and easterly winds kept the lakeshore very cool. At least we had almost no frost; the thermometer showed only one night below zero, the 8th, at -0.9C.
Not only was it cold, it was very wet. The record of 162 mm. was set nearly a hundred years ago in 1927 – I’m glad to say we didn’t get that much rain, but the 123 mm. we did get was the second wettest I have recorded. Only 2004 surpassed it at 128mm.
As for sunshine, it was in pretty short supply too. Only 11 days were truly sunny whereas 13 were truly cloudy. The rest were a mix. Contrast that with last year, when we had 25 sunny days – but with a drought.
Water temperature at the Gap started out at 3.3C and reached 6.7C by the end of the month. Last year, thanks to all that sunshine, it was 10C.
Every cloud has a silver lining. One happy result of this persistently cool month is that our spring flowers, while late coming up, have blossomed for much longer. Daffodils are only now beginning to wilt after being in flower for several weeks.
This is a time to remind ourselves that temperatures tend to revert, eventually, to the mean. This implies that at some point we’ll get unusually warm weather. The only snag is that we are clearly in the midst of climate change, so maybe the old rules of reversion don’t apply.