Wychwood weather in May and June 2020

If this proves to be popular, then this might become a more regular feature in this magazine, with a local weather report about the two months preceding the deadline date. I will attempt to keep it non-technical without too much meteorological terminology as I have recently updated my weather station which gives far more information than is required for a readable report.  

After an exceptionally wet and mild winter we moved into a relatively dry spring and a sublime start to the summer. It was as if the weather gods knew that lockdown started on the 23rd March as we then enjoyed a prolonged period of dry weather with no rain falling for 26 days until the 17th April, with many sunny and reasonably warm days.  We ended April with three wet days, with nearly an inch of rain before the start of May.  Up until then, the Atlantic that normally controls our weather, was completely blocked by high pressure over and around the United Kingdom. 

May was a record-breaking month for many reasons and has already gone down in the history books locally as the sunniest and driest ever recorded with only 1.8mm of rain and with over 225 hours of sunshine. The air was particularly dry with the wind predominantly and very untypically from the east. The highest temperature was achieved on the 20th May, 26.2°C (79.2°F) and the lowest night-time was -2.3°C (27°F) on the 12th May. The wettest day was on the 1st May with just 0.8mm of rain, and the highest wind gust was 38mph on the 23rd May when a deep area of low pressure area passed to the north of the UK. The last week of May was the warmest period of the month with the maximum temperature exceeding 24°C every day with clear blue skies.

June started as May had left off with the first two days dry and very warm with temperatures over 25°C, but alas it wasn’t to last as we entered a period dominated by cold Arctic winds with showers, some of which covered the tops of the Scottish mountains with some very late snow. From about the 12th of June, we were influenced by low pressure that stayed close to the UK for much of the month and gave us spells of more unsettled weather. Some people would say that it was a typical June, but from a meteorological perspective, it was far from normal; let me explain:

The normal westerly airflow from the Atlantic was virtually non-existent.  When low pressure lay to the west, we had what is known as a Spanish Plume of hot air drawn up from the south.  Then the low pressure would pass slowly over the UK with thunderstorms and some heavy rain.  Once it moved to the east, it pulled in cold polar air from the north. That is why we kept alternating between hot and cold weather. The daily maximum temperatures could differ by as much as 15°C in 24 hours. 

The month in summary was slightly wetter than average with 69mm of rain and slightly warmer than average by 1°C at 15.5°C. The wettest day was on the 18th June with 32.8mm (1.25 inches), the warmest day was on the 25th with 31.5°C (88.7°F) and the coldest night on the 7th with 3.3°C (38.7°F). 

Prospects for July look brighter, partly due to the comparatively warm sea temperatures; we shall see.

John Miskin

August – September 2020

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