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May Day 2019

Bank Holiday rain or shine?



The 2019 May Day Bank Holiday is on the 6th May. Last year it brought fine weather but this time things are looking very mixed. All parts of the UK are expected to have changeable and cooler weather at times in late April. Will the mixed theme continue into the Bank Holiday weekend?

Bluebells on Ashridge near Berkhamsted

May Day outlook

Computer models are predicting that a plunge of Arctic air will sweep down across the UK later this week. Therefore the Bank Holiday weekend could start off with notably cold conditions. In the north snow may fall to low levels and nighttime frosts are likely to be widespread. As the period progresses temperatures should gradually recover but they probably remain on the low side. Showery conditions are likely early on but by Monday forecast confidence falls.

The charts below are from the GEFS 06z update, Tuesday 30th April 2018. The GEFS ensemble helps to identify the probabilities of different weather outcomes. It works by running the same computer model 20 times and varying the starting conditions each time to help account for uncertainty.

Monday temperature spread forecast

The postage stamp plot shows the forecast temperatures from each GEFS model run on the afternoon of Monday 6th May.

Key points:

The runs show the temperature spread ranging from about 7C to 10C in the northern half of the UK and 11C to 16C in the southern half. Therefore temperatures are expected to be below the seasonal average. However the sun is strong at this time of the year so it shouldn't feel too bad in areas where the cloud holds back.

GEFS May Day maximum temperatures

Precipitation spread forecast

The postage stamp plot below shows forecast precipitation from each GEFS model run on the afternoon of Monday 6th May.

Key points:

There is the possibility of rain in places but a good deal of dry weather is likely. Rain could come from either:

1) Showers in central and eastern areas as high pressure remains centred to the north and west of the UK

2) Disturbances from the Atlantic pushing into northern and western areas as high pressure collapses southwards

GEFS May Day precipitation


Summarising the forecast data

The forecast data for the early May Bank Holiday is now firming up. It suggests:

1) Temperatures will be below average overall. Early on it could be very chilly and nighttime frosts are expected.

2) Showers are likely early in the period. By Monday uncertainty increases and there is a possibility of rain returning to the north and west.

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From Brian Gaze, TWO founder
Since establishing TheWeatherOutlook over 15 years ago the site has grown enormously and running costs have risen. I intend to continue expanding TWO and keeping it free if possible. If you find it useful and would like to contribute to its development please consider making a donation.

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