diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bank holiday blues

Not only are our bank holidays badly spaced, but the weather's always crap too. Well it is, isn't it? This last bank holiday weekend, for example, has been grey, wet and a bit rubbish. Low scudding clouds, sudden squally showers, deceptive sunny intervals and then a stonking great big thunderstorm to round the whole thing off. Because it always rains on bank holidays, doesn't it?

I thought I'd do some research to find out. I've looked back over the last fifteen bank holiday weekends (excluding Christmas and New Year) to find out whether it chucked it down or not. The precise data's surprisingly hard to find, but thankfully Britain contains several amateur meteorologists who dutifully record daily wind speed, sunshine, rainfall and lots of other readings on the internet. I've trawled through pages of precipitation data for Wokingham (thank you Bernard), and below are the results. The wet symbol means "more than ½mm of rain", whereas the sun symbol means "not wet", which isn't necessarily sunny. And if there's a border round the raincloud then it was particularly damp (more than 5mm of rain).

 Good FridayEaster Monday May   Day Late SpringLate Summer

So it's not been all bad. Easter Monday hasn't put a foot wrong recently, and 2003 and 2005 were pretty damned gorgeous. On the other hand 2004 and 2006 (so far) have been washouts, just like you might have expected. Altogether 7 out of the last 19 spring/summer bank holidays have been wet, which is only slightly worse than SE England's long-term average of about 30%. Maybe our bank holidays aren't jinxed after all.

But, come next Monday, no doubt the sun will start beating down and we'll all be sat in the office staring longingly out of the window thinking "damn, if only the bank holiday had been a week later". So I decided to test this too. What if all the spring/summer bank holidays for the last four years had been a week later. Would the weather have been all dry and lovely instead, or did we have a lucky escape? Here are the results:
If the five bank holidays had been one week later...
2003: GF much wetter; EM wetter; MD wetter; LSp equally dry; LSu equally dry
2004: GF drier; EM a bit wetter; MD a lot drier; LSp a lot drier; LSu drier
2005: GF equally dry; EM a bit wetter; MD a bit wetter; LSp equally dry; LSu equally dry
2006: GF drier; EM equally dry; MD a lot drier
All of which adds up to six bank holidays which would have been wetter a week later, and six which would have been drier. Swings and roundabouts. Overall it doesn't make a blind bit of difference. The weather doesn't know that HM Government has prescribed a national day off work when it decides to chuck it down, or not. Yesterday's thunderstorm was just a statistical freak, obviously. And if the sun comes out in a blazing heatwave next Monday, that'll just be bloody typical.

Fantastically in-depth data on Britain's bank holiday weather
Easter (really good: 1949, 1984) (really bad: 1964, 1994)
May Day (really good: 1999) (really bad: 1982, 1983)
Late Spring (really good: 1978, 1992) (really bad: 2000, 2006)
Late Summer (really good: 1955, 2001) (really bad: 1956, 1976, 1986)

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream