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May 2024


May 2024

Temperatures (all temperatures in degrees Celsuis; all averages 1991-2020)

Mean daily maximum: 17.3   Difference from average: +1.9

Mean daily minimum: 9.8      Difference from average: +3.3

Mean air temperature: 13.6    Difference from average: +2.5

Absolute maximum: 22.8 (11th)

Absolute minimum: 4.9 (21st)

Mean grass minimum: 8.7      Difference from average:

Absolute grass minimum: 2.9 (21st)

Mean concrete minimum: 10.7

Absolute concrete minimum: 6.2 (21st)

Number of ground frosts: 0    Difference from average: -4

Number of air frosts: 0           Difference from average: -1

Mean soil temperature at 300 mm depth: 14.5

Mean soil temperature at 1000 mm depth: 12.1

Rainfall (all totals in millimetres; all averages 1991-2020)

Total for the month: 75.6        Difference from average: +31.1

Percentage of the average:  170%

Wettest day: 28.2 (22nd)

Number of rain days (>0.1 mm): 16   Difference from average: +2

Number of wet days (=>1.0 mm): 11

3-month total rainfall to 2024 31st May 2024: 206.0   Difference from average: +66.3

6-month total rainfall to 2024 31st May 2024: 440.6   Difference from average: +101.3

12-month total rainfall to 2024 31st May 2024: 973.4  Difference from average: +292.4

Sunshine (all totals in hours; all averages 1991-2020)

Total for the month: 140.0                  Difference from average: -47

Percentage of the average:  75%

Mean daily sunshine: 4.5       Difference from average: -1.5

Sunniest day: 8.4 (18th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 1

Note that the monthly sunshine total is now calculated from the UKMO E&NE regional total. Daily sunshine totals quoted here and in the data summary are uncorrected.

Wind (kph; all data from the West Building roof, Lower Mountjoy campus)


Average wind speed: 5.0

Maximum gust: 46.7 (30th, 12:45,

Comments on May 2024

This was the warmest May on record at Durham since records began in 1844, beating the previous record holder, 2004, by 0.2 °C. There were no days with a maximum above 25 °C, but this is not unusual: only 8 May days this century have been above 25 °C. Only 6 days exceeded 20 °C. But there were no cold days either, with the lowest maximum being 12.8 C on the 22nd. So, days may not have felt exceptionally warm, but it was nevertheless the equal 5th highest mean maximum for May. Night-time temperatures were exceptionally mild: there was highest mean minimum air temperature (9.8 °C) for May since 1844, surpassing last year’s record by an astonishing 1.4 °C, 3.3 °C above the 1991-2020 average. Nineteen nights had a minimum no lower than 10 °C, easily the lowest total on record; the previous record was 12 in 2004. Not surprisingly, there were no air frosts or ground frosts.

May was also a wet month, although not exceptionally so: the 29th wettest May on record, and less than half the wettest ever May in Durham, exactly 100 years ago in 1924 (154 mm). Being a wet month, it was likely to be a dull month too – in fact the 28th dullest May on record.

Spring was the equal third warmest on record at Durham (9.7 °C, with 2011), beaten only in 2017 (9.8 °C) and 2004 (9.9 °C). The average daytime maximum (13.3 °C) was the equal 13th highest on record but, not unexpectedly given night-time temperatures in May, the mean minimum temperature (6.2 °C) was easily the highest on record, 0.9 °C above the previous record holder, 2014. It was the 15th wettest spring on record. The 12-month total ending in May 2024 (973.4 mm) is the equal 10th highest for any 12-month total in the entire Durham record; the highest 12-month total is for the period April 2012 to March 2013 (1129.9 mm). Not surprisingly, it was a very dull spring, the 21st lowest total since 1882.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt

Department of Geography

Durham University

[email protected]