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Armagh Observatory confirms coldest May in almost two decades

Armagh Observatory has confirmed that May has been the coldest in almost two decades!

And it is hardly surprising, therefore, that talk of a heatwave is, quite frankly, just a lot of hot air!

After the coolest temperatures recorded in Armagh since 1996, suggestions of a heatwave were always going to give a warm glow!

But the Met Office has dismissed any suggestions that we should be expecting a June full of glorious weather.

Granted, it says temperatures will warm, but it may be very short-lived and, where there’s sun, showers are not too far away!

According to Armagh Observatory, May saw a mean temperature of 9.85  degrees Celsius, with May 2015 described as “much cooler than average”.

This was the coldest May since 1996.

There were several very cold nights, notably the minimum air temperature recorded on the 1st, which was -1.5 C.

This was the coldest May night since 1996 and the tenth coldest May night on record, that is, since 1843 when maximum-minimum thermometers first began to be used at Armagh.

There were also several very sharp ground frosts, notably the minimum grass temperature of -7.1 C recorded on the 1st, and that of -6.9 C recorded on both the 4th and 16th, and 15 ground frosts in total.

The warmest day (highest maximum air temperature) was 17.6 C on the 22nd.

The month was also much wetter than average, with a total precipitation of 93.85 mm including 3 trace values.

This was more than 60% wetter than the most recent (1981-2010) average May rainfall at Armagh, and the wettest May since 2006. The wettest day was the 2nd, with 24.8 mm rainfall.  Rain fell on at least 26 days of the month.

May 2015 was slightly duller than average, with 167 hours of strong sunshine, approximately 12% fewer than the long-term (1881-2010) May average at Armagh but only 4% fewer than the  most recent (1981-2010) 30-year May average.  The sunniest day was the 13th, with a total of 13.4 hours of strong sunshine.

May marks the end of the meteorological Spring – March, April and May).

Each of these months was cooler than average, leading to a mean Spring temperature of 8.0 degrees Celsius, approximately the same as the long-term (1796-2010) average Spring temperature at Armagh, but nearly 0.8 C cooler than the most recent (1981-2010) 30-year Spring average.

Both March and April were sunnier than average, but May slightly duller, leading to a total of 509 hours of strong sunshine for the three months, which is approximately 12% more than the long-term (1881-2010) Spring average and 23% more than the most recent (1981-2010) 30-year Spring average at Armagh.

In fact, despite May’s dismal performance, 2015 was the ninth sunniest Spring on record and the sunniest since 2008.

Precipitation this Spring was approximately 23% more than the long-term (1838-2010) Spring precipitation at Armagh, and 13.5% more than the most recent (1981-2010 Spring average.

The data provided by Armagh Observatory would build hopes that things can only get better.

And the Met Office agrees – but not to the extent that is being bandied about!

The Met Office says: “There have been some stories in the press that a heatwave is on the way later this week. Although we are expecting temperatures to rise over the coming days with some pleasant early summer weather, any very warm weather will be fairly short-lived.”

After an unseasonably cold, wet and windy start to June and the meteorological summer, the Met Office says we could be seeing a much quieter and more pleasant spell of weather.

And although temperatures are likely to rise, this may not necessarily be accompanied by blue skies and sunshine, as a good deal of cloud is possible along frequent, heavy and persistent showers!

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