The coldest May for 25 years in East Anglia and one of the wettest ever

After one of the wettest Mays on record, a rainbow is pictured over a Norfolk beach on 18 May 2021 Credit: David Hudson

We shivered and we got soaked in May 2021 as the Anglia region suffered the chilliest May for a quarter of a century. Until the final few days of the month, the rain was fairly relentless, more than making up for the drought in April. Until the bank holiday weekend at the end of May, it had rained somewhere in the Eastern Counties pretty much every day of the month. Even the relative warmth of the bank holiday failed to prevent May feeling more like April. Daytime maximum temperatures were more than 1.5°C below normal making it the coldest May since 1996. There was nearly, but not quite, twice as much rain as normal, placing May 2021 among the ten wettest since Met Office records began in East Anglia in 1862. But there has been a wetter May recently, just seven years ago back in 2014.

A rainbow over Sudbury in Suffolk on 4 May 2021 Credit: Sue Longhurst

The wettest place in the Anglia region during May was Woburn in Bedfordshire with 117.2 mm (4.6 inches) of rain. That was more than double the average for that site which can normally expect 54 mm (2.1 inches) of rain in May.

The driest place was Shoeburyness in Essex with 51 mm (2 inches) of rain.

The Anglia region was spoilt for sunshine in the final few days of the month but it stayed shrouded by clouds for the rest of the time. It looks like being the dullest May for 14 years. The rain may have pelted us in May but the other spring months of March and April were dry or very dry so overall the season was drier than normal in East Anglia but, simultaneously, the wettest for three years. Spring has been drier than average for three years in a row now. With April also on the chilly side - it was the coldest for 35 years - overall, the spring was the coolest it has been in the region since 2013 with temperatures about 1°C below normal. Totting up all three months, springtime sunshine totals were around normal.