June 1, 2020 / 8:52 PM / 2 months ago

UK experiences sunniest calendar month on record in May: Met Office

An ice cream van is seen as people enjoy the hot weather on the bank of the River Thames in London, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 31, 2020. REUTERS/Steven Watt

LONDON (Reuters) - Last month was the United Kingdom’s sunniest calendar month on record, the Met Office said on Monday, beating a previous record set in 1957.

The UK’s national weather service said there had been 266 hours of sunshine in May. The previous record was 265 hours, set in June 1957. It was also the driest May on record in England, with just 17% of the average rainfall for the month.

It has also been the United Kingdom’s sunniest spring on record, the Met Office said, with 626 hours of bright sunshine recorded, well above the previous high of 555 hours set in 1948.

“The sunshine figures for spring would even be extremely unusual for summer and only three summers would beat spring 2020 for sunshine hours,” Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said in a statement.

“The principal reason for the dry and sunny weather is the extended period of high pressure which has been centred over or close to the UK. This has suppressed the development of clouds and rainfall over the UK, while allowing plenty of sunshine to reach the surface.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Editing by Paul Sandle

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