Monthly Summary - May 2018

 Warmer, drier and sunnier than average - especially in the second half of the month

  It was actually the warmest May yet recorded at this site and that was despite the month still running to average beyond the 20th. However, a warm end to the month was the main cause of the month finishing much warmer than average and with the bonus of both Bank Holiday weekends enjoying fine conditions and plenty of sun to boot, overall, it was a good month.

  The majority of the month's rain fell during the first half, with cooler conditions either side of the Bank Holiday. After the 15th only two more days saw some rain and we enjoyed many dry and sunny days with it becoming increasingly warm; all but one day after the 24th attained 20°c. Whilst the mean minimum temperature for the month finished exactly on average, the mean maximum was well above, mainly due to that final week.

  By the month's end as a result of below average rainfall and the warm and sunny days, the ground had becoming quite dry and hard and the gardens were in need of some rain - we avoided the thunderstorms that affected southern areas at the month's end and for us it was a fairly quiet month.

  During the month, there was little in the way of 'eventful' weather, just one day with hail (12th).

  MSLP of 1019.2 Mb was +4.3 Mb above the local average for May and the highest yet recorded in May for this site and was consistently high from the 14th as high pressure dominated.

  Overall a mean minimum of 5.78°c and a mean maximum of 17.83°c saw the temperature 1.4°c above the 1981-2010 average. It was the warmest yet recorded at this site (of the ten now recorded). The highest maximum temperature recorded was 23.6°c (27+28th), the lowest minimum -1.9°c (1st).

  Rainfall of 36.6 mm (Crosby Ravensworth School 38.7 mm  -  Castlehowe Scar 34.0 mm  -  Reagill 34.3 mm) was 56% of average for 2008-17 and made it the driest May since 2017. Of the eleven now recorded, three have been drier and seven have been wetter.

  At the Met' Office site at Newton Rigg, 29.8 mm (53%) made it the driest May since 2016 and in a series back to 1900, May has been drier in 16 years and wetter in 102 years. A mean temperature of 11.55°c is the coldest since 2015 and in a series back to 1914 (3 yrs of missing data), 85 have been colder with 16 having been warmer.

  Locally, rainfall percentages were well below average, down to 38.8% at Haresceugh Castles and at all sites rain only fell on nine days, just seven at Kirkby Thore.

  Figures from the Environment Agency’s rainfall sites were, (figure in brackets being the monthly average for 1961-90)   ‘Data kindly provided by the Hydrometry and Telemetry team of the Environment Agency (Penrith)’:

  Kirkby Thore 27.8 mm (48.0 mm)

  Haresceugh Castle (Kirkoswald) 23.7 mm (61.1 mm)

  Brothers Water 57.7 mm (138 mm) and

  Orton (Shallowford) 52.6 mm (87.1 mm [average for 1967-2017])

  127.4 mm at Seathwaite Farm (Borrowdale - 169 mm [average for 1981-2010]).



  Here at Maulds Meaburn, the season finished very average for temperature, but it took April and May to be well above average to cancel out the very cold March with its 'Beasts from the East' and as for rainfall, it was drier than normal although it wasn't until the second half of May when we had an extended dry spell.

  Spring 2018 with 169.5 mm of rain at Maulds Meaburn (Crosby Ravensworth 167.3 mm - remarkably drier than Maulds Meaburn and solely due to wind direction) has been the wettest since 2016 and is the 4th driest of the eleven now recorded. That 169.5 mm represented 85.6% of the rainfall for those ten previous springs.

  A mean temperature of 7.81°c is the fifth coldest of the ten recorded, being 0.03°c colder than the average of those previous nine - basically, exactly average.

  At Newton Rigg rainfall totalled 125.0 mm and had a mean temperature of 7.72°c. In comparison to the 1981-2010 averages this represented 67.9 % of spring rainfall and the mean temperature was also exactly on average.

  In a series back to 1900 (1 year of incomplete data), 2018 was the 20th driest and in a complete series back to 1952 (1 yr with data missing), 26 have been warmer and 39 have been colder.



  1st - 7th    The start of the month saw high pressure (HP) 'Azores High', in Biscay, making several attempts to ridge over the UK, but without gaining any control as the occasional front from the Atlantic moved east.

  That ridge was with us overnight into the 1st and saw the month start with its coldest temperature of -1.9°c (28.6°f). That ridge would quickly give way during the day to low pressure (LP) from the Atlantic that then saw quite a dark day with light rain from 3 p.m. and which would result in not only the 1st having the month's coldest temperature, but also its wettest day!

  That rain became heavier overnight into the 2nd, giving 10.4 mm (credited back to the 1st) and was followed by a brisk WNW'ly flow that gave a bright and breezy day on the 2nd.

  The 3rd saw a brief battle between the HP and fronts from the Atlantic, the latter gaining the upper hand later in the day to bring a little drizzle. Then it was the turn of the HP to ridge in, sufficiently enough to bring dry and sunny conditions over the next two days - decent weather approaching the Bank Holiday.

  The Bank Holiday weekend itself (5-7th) could not have been any better - warm, sunny and dry, in other words, lovely.

  HP over Scandinavia became dominant, blocking any Atlantic fronts and with the light winds (nominally from the south) and clear skies the temperature responded positively. The 5th saw the temperature upto 18.5°c and was then followed by 21.7°c (6th) and 21.9°c (71.4°f - 7th).

    Midday 6th -   The high pressure over the UK that brought a glorious Bank Holiday weekend 


  8th - 15th    The HP collapsed on the 8th as a cold front associated to LP near Iceland moved across the UK and this saw the temperature fall away to 13.4°c and then down to 12.0°c on the 9th.

  That cold front only brought a brief shower during the afternoon of the 8th, but then the next few days would be characterised by no single weather pattern becoming established. Thus there was a little bit of everything, still plenty of sun, even if it was that bit cooler and the rain that did fall, did so overnight - so whilst it was a little changeable, we didn't overly notice!

  Rain on the 9th began at 5 p.m. and the rain on the 11th (2.4 mm) and 12th (8.3 mm) came overnight courtesy of fronts associated to LP that became fairly static to the west of Eire. However, the days themselves had seen some sunshine betwixt the fronts that brought the rain.

  Despite weak fronts to both the east and west, the 14th was a fine sunny day as we sat in a slack pressure gradient and the temperature rose to 19.2°c, albeit after a chilly start that had seen a ground frost. HP was building out in the Atlantic but ahead of it was a cold front that brought 5.8 mm of rain, but which again fell overnight 15-16th.


  16th - 25th    The HP that had been building out in the Atlantic then became dominant bringing a prolonged period of settled, dry, sunny and pleasantly warm temperatures.

  During the period the occasional frontal system attempted to push in from the west, especially during 20th-22nd, but the HP held firm and hence it really was a spell of lovely weather, more often than not typified by near clear skies and excellent visibility.

  Temperatures tended to be in the range of 17-19°c, but the 21st with 22.9°c (73.2°f) was the warmest day since 18th July 2017.

  However, those clear skies did give one reminder that even this late in the season it can still be quite chilly at night. Ground frosts were recorded on both the 17th and 18th and the former also saw an air frost with the temperature dipping to -0.1°c.

  The 22nd had seen HP in the Atlantic building and moving north and becoming fixed over Norway. Essentially the weather remained dry, sunny and settled, but now the wind came from the ESE and whilst the thermometer still showed 18-19°c, it did feel a little cooler at times, mainly in the evenings.

  It was still wall to wall sun and the temperature did pick up on the 24th to 20.9°c, but a blip came on the 25th due to an occluded front moving up from the south and squeezing the HP out; however, this only resulted in 2.4 mm of rain, (from 3 p.m.).


  26th - 31st    The warmest period of the month as HP near Norway extended down over the UK and an example of how an easterly flow doesn't have to feel cold!

  The good weather was back just in time for the Bank Holiday (26-28th) - the 26th was slightly transitional as the HP slowly began to exert itself south and which saw the temperature rise to 22.4°c, but the Sunday and Monday would be glorious.

  With the HP sufficiently dominant, both the 27+28th enjoyed wall to wall sun and with both also attaining a month's high of 23.6°c (74.5°f), you couldn't tell them apart!

  Still decent on the 29th, if a little cooler and with more cloud, before the last two days of the month saw cloudier and muggy conditions as LP pushed north over the UK, replacing the HP. This saw some rain (2.4 mm) during the afternoon of the 30th and was followed by an oppressive night with the temperature only dropping to 13.2°c.


  1200 Hrs 27th -   high pressure, 'warm easterlies' and avoiding the thunderstorms  


May Rainfall Anomalies %                                                                                    May Temp' Anomaly   



   Rainfall totalled 36.6 mm for the month, with rain recorded on 9 days of which 7 were 'Wet days' (1.0mm +).

   The Mean Temperature for the month was 11.80°c      --      The Mean Max' was   17.83°c     --      The Mean Min'   5.78°c.

   We had 2 Air Frosts in the month (year 47)                --      Grass frosts totalled 6 (year 75).

   The 1 foot soil temp ranged from a low of 9.4°c on the 2nd        to      a high of 16.9°c on the 31st     --      with a monthly mean of 13.0°c

   The 1 meter soil temp ranged from a low of 8.7°c on the 2nd to 5th      to      a high of 12.5°c on the 31st     --     with a monthly mean of 10.4°c



   * May 2018 rainfall was 56% of the May average for 2008 - 2017

   * May 2018 was 1.49°c warmer than the May average for 2009 - 2017 and 1.4°c warmer than the local long term average 1981-2010

   * This makes the Jan' to May period of 2018 0.21°c colder than the average for 2009-17 and with 89.8% of average rainfall for 2008-17



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The Oldest Inhabitant    An Inch Of Scotch Mist    But it's meant to be Summer (Summer 2017)  


© Darren Rogers 2010-18

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