Hottest ever Early May Bank Holiday among records broken in Reading

Records have been tumbling this year at the University of Reading’s weather station. Just days after the coldest March day since records began, a new record hottest recorded temperature was set for an April day. With the sun beating down on the UK over the Early May Bank Holiday weekend, the question was whether it could break yet more records. Stephen Burt from the Department of Meteorology explains.

Bank holiday weather is normally a cause for national despair, but not this last weekend I’m sure you’ll agree.

Monday was the warmest Early May Bank Holiday on record – and also the sunniest

Monday’s maximum of 27.6 °C (from the automatic weather station) made hotter than any previous Early May Bank Holiday day since the national holiday was introduced in 1978 – the previous highest temperature for the bank holiday weekend being 25.9 °C, set on the Saturday, 6 May, in 1990. It was also the warmest day in the month of May since 2005.

Additionally, unbroken sunshine on all three days this year – Saturday 14.2 hours, Sunday and Monday 14.1 each (total 42.4 hours) – recorded by the electronic sunshine sensor, made this by far our sunniest early Early May Bank Holiday ever.

Only the Spring Bank Holiday in late May can have more sunshine on a cloudless day as it’s the closest bank holiday to the summer solstice; but even so, only the Spring Bank Holiday of 1966 has ever been sunnier in Reading since our sunshine records at the university commenced in 1956. The bank holiday of 27-29 May 1966 saw a total of 43.9 hours (Saturday Sat-Sun-Mon 14.5, 13.9, 15.5 hours). The late May bank holiday in 1989 was the next best with 42.0 hours across the three days.

It’s certainly been an interesting few weeks. On 1 March we saw the coldest March day on our 110 year record, accompanied by the heaviest snowfall for eight years. We saw another heavy snowfall on 17-18 March, resulting in the first-ever weather cancellation of the Reading Half Marathon.

Just four weeks later, on 19 April, we had the hottest April day on our 110 year record, when the temperature reached 26.7 °C.

Then, just over a week ago, on Sunday 29 April, we had our coldest day so late in the spring since 1979 (and our third-lowest in our 110 year record) when the maximum temperature reached just 7.7 °C.

And now, our warmest and sunniest Early May Bank Holiday for more than 50 years. Cold – Hot – Cold – Hot – I wonder what’s coming next!?