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WEATHER WATCH: Milder May in Wick but rain remains average


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Weather Watch by Keith Banks

Cuckoo Hill, Watten, pictured on May 15. Note the distinctive, fibrous appearance of the high altitude cirrus fibratus clouds. Picture: David G Scott
Cuckoo Hill, Watten, pictured on May 15. Note the distinctive, fibrous appearance of the high altitude cirrus fibratus clouds. Picture: David G Scott

The high clouds that develop in the Earth's troposphere are usually thin and white, fibrous or feathery in appearance. They are known as cirrus, or conventionally assigned the prefix "cirro" by meteorologists.

Cirrus clouds have an unmistakable wispy or hair or threadlike appearance. These clouds frequently invade the entire sky, however they do not blot out the sun or the moon.

Unlike the low to mid altitude cloud types, that are made up of liquid water droplets, cirrus clouds are composed of tiny ice crystals and/or filaments. Cirrus clouds manifest in the most varied forms – plumes, tufts and streaks are common.

Cirrostratus is a thin whitish sheet or veil of cloud that does not obscure the sun, that gives the sky a hazy or milky guise. Refraction of the light rays that enter and leave the ice crystals that make up cirrostratus often cause optical phenomena called halos to appear around the sun and the moon. They are very often a reliable portent that a warm front associated with a depression is approaching – and that rain will occur within the next few hours.

Cirrocumulus is arguably the most beautiful of all cloud forms. They appear as small, delicate cloudlets, arranged in ripples, lines or clusters. Cirrocumulus cloud formations are commonly described as "mackerel skies".

Perusal of Wick's historic record for mean air temperature for May showed that May 2022 was the mildest since that of 2017. Closer examination of the archive revealed that it is currently the second most mild in a series stretching back to 1910.

In terms of precipitation, May 2022 was the wettest since that of 2019, and it is presently the 54th most wet in a series commencing from 1910.

Spring 2022 was Wick's mildest since that of 2017. Mean temperature was 7.83C (46.09F).

The town's mean air temperature for spring, in terms of the averaging period 1991-2020 is 7.08C (44.74F).

Spring 2022 was Wick's wettest since that of 2019. The precipitation total was 131.20mm (5.17 inches). The long-term average quantity for spring is currently 154.06mm (6.07 inches).

Wick's mean air temperature for May 2022 was 10.27C (50.49F). The long-term average for May, in terms of the averaging period 1991-2020, is 8.77C (47.79F). The royal burgh's mildest May since 1910 is presently that of 2017. The mean temperature for that month was 10.36C (50.65F).

Wick's average maximum daytime air temperature for May 2022 was 13.24C (55.83F). The current long-term average value for this parameter, for May, is 12.02C (53.64F).

Highest maximum was 17.6C (63.7F), recorded on May 5. Lowest maximum was 9.9C (49.8F), witnessed on May 7.

Wick's average overnight minimum air temperature for May 2022 was 7.30C (45.14F). The long-term average for May, in terms of the current 30-year averaging period, is 5.52C (41.94F).

Highest overnight minimum was 10.7C (51.3F), observed on May 6. Lowest ambient temperature was 2.3C (36.1F), logged on May 7.

The temperature fell to 0.0C (32,0F), or lower, at 5cm over the grass on two dates. The lowest temperature recorded over the grass was minus 0.8C (30.6F), on May 3.

Precipitation was measurable on 29 dates. The total for the month was 48.2mm (1.90 inches), or 96.7 per cent of the long-term average for May.

The wettest day was May 16. The amount for the 24 hours commencing 9am (GMT) was 8.2mm (0.32 of an inch).

May 2022 experienced no "days of gale". However, wind velocities reached or exceeded gale force 8, (39.0mph/33.9knots), on three dates.

The strongest wind velocity was observed during the hour ending 1pm (GMT) on May 13, when a force 7 westerly wind gusted up to 46mph/40knots, gale force 8 on the Beaufort scale.


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