TYPICALLY, the month of May is filled with sunshine and is a time to put away our winter coats and roll out the BBQ. 

When the prime minister Boris Johnson announced pubs could reopen outdoors last month, we expected balmy nights in beer gardens. Instead, Mother Nature responded with a month of regular downpours.

May so far has been filled with unpredictable weather with Basingstoke and the county of Hampshire hit with low temperatures, strong wind, freakish hailstorms with the odd burst of lightning thrown in for good measure. 

As restrictions were eased yesterday, pub-goers will no longer have the wrap-up and huddle beneath umbrellas to enjoy a pint. But it has barely stopped raining since. 

Is there any sign of sunshine on the horizon?

The Gazette has been investigating on your behalf to get to the bottom of this soggy weather.

We have spoken to forecasters to find out what is causing this miserable spell and to see if better days are ahead. 

What is causing the bad weather?

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The cause of this bad weather comes down to the jet stream, The Met Office told The Gazette. 

The Jet stream has a warm side and a cold side, and since the beginning of May, the cool side of the jet stream has been to the south of the UK.

A spokesperson for the Devon-based weather agency said: “The cause of this south-shifted jet stream has been much higher than average pressure over Greenland. This forces the jet stream further south, leaving us on its cold side with low-pressure systems bringing wet and at times windy weather.”

How does the weather this May compare to previous years?

It is not just our imaginations. This May is far wetter than normal for Hampshire. Although we are just over halfway through the month, Hampshire has already seen 100 per cent of its average rainfall for May, with 55.4mm falling across the county.

This May has also been around three degrees cooler than a typical May with Hampshire seeing an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius.

The wettest May on record was in 1967, when 131.7mm of rain fell across the UK.

Met Office forecaster Steven Keates said if the record is not broken this year, it will still be a “notably wet month”.

He said: “If you were to extrapolate what we’ve had so far and say the second half of the month was similar to the first, then you would probably be challenging a record wet May.

“On the basis that a fair amount of rain is probably quite likely over the next couple of weeks, it’s probably going to be up there.”

Last year, May 2020 was classified as the sunniest calendar month on record with 266 hours of sunshine, beating the previous record of 265 hours in June 1957.

It was also the driest May on record in England, which has not helped to make this year seem even more miserable. 

When will the weather improve?

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The bad news is there is at least another week of showers, according to The Met Office. Looking at the long-range weather forecast, current conditions are likely to continue into next week but there is a chance of more settled conditions towards the end of the month.

A Met Office spokesperson explained: “A low-pressure system will bring wet and windy weather to many parts of the UK on Thursday and Friday as it pushes west to east across central England.

“Although showers will continue over the weekend there will also be some good dry spells for many and as we go through next week overall drier and brighter conditions should become more dominant.

“There are some indications that temperatures may start to turn warmer, perhaps closer to normal for the time of year.”