The sun and the rain: weather records continue to tumble in East Anglia

The sun continues to shine like never before in East Anglia while there’s a distinct lack of rain.

The first four months of the year have already been the sunniest start to a year that East Anglia has seen since regional records started in 1929 and it also looks like being the sunniest January to May period ever.

April 2020 was also the sunniest on record in East Anglia.

May could also be the driest one East Anglia has ever seen and the rainfall records date back to 1862.

A stunning sunset to the south of Cambridge on 22nd May 2020. Credit: George Reader

The year 2020 amassed 582 hours of sunshine in the four months to the end of April in East Anglia, the highest sunshine for that period in the 91 years since records started.

The next nearest was 544 hours in January to April 1990.

That was 172 hours more than is normal during those four months and 142% of the long-term average.

The sunshine has continued to shine in May and the region is on course to break the five-month record too.

January to April 2020 was the sunniest first four months of the year on record in East Anglia. Credit: Data from the Met Office

The record sunshine for January to May is 804 hours and was set in 1990.

Up to 24th May, the year 2020 had totted up 792 hours of sunshine meaning only 12 hours more sunshine in the remaining week of the month would be required to secure a new East Anglian record.

And most of that sunshine could come on Bank Holiday Monday alone.

804 hrs

Record Jan-May sunshine in East Anglia set in 1990

792 hrs

Provisional sunshine total from start of 2020 to 24th May in East Anglia

A near deserted Gorleston beach near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk during lockdown on 24th May 2020. Credit: Peter Dowsett

There has also been precious little rain during May in the East of England.

Up to 24th May, the region as a whole had managed barely 2 mm (0.08 inches) of the usual monthly tally of 50 mm (2 inches). A few places like Cavendish in Suffolk, Marham in Norfolk and Wittering in Cambridgeshire have recorded less than ½ mm of rain.

According to the Met Office, the lowest rainfall total for May, since records began in 1862, was in 1989 when only 9.6 mm (0.4 inches) fell during the entire month.

Sunrise over Bawdsey near Felixstowe in Suffolk on 24th May 2020. Credit: Chris W Balmer

The driest of any calendar month in East Anglia was April 2007 with 1.0 mm (0.04 inches) of rain followed by February 1881 with 1.2 mm (0.05 inches).

Very little, if any, rain is forecast for the week ahead in the Anglia region so it looks like the lockdown will set more weather records.