Londoners Need Umbrellas for Over Half the Year

If you’re from the UK, you’re well aware that the UK doesn’t shy away from gloomy skies and rain. We have plenty of rain during our Autumns, Winters and Springs, but even our Summers are showery. If you’re not from the UK, you probably know grey days and rainy weather as one of those stereotypically ‘British Things’, like drinking tea and the Queen.

So, I wanted to see if this stereotype was really true or whether it was just an exaggeration. Is the weather in the UK really that wet?

It turns out, in terms of average yearly rainfall in the world, the UK isn’t even in the top ten. Currently, the place that holds the number one spot for wettest in the world is Mawsynram, India. Here’s the rest of the list.

However, that doesn’t get the UK off the hook. OK, fine, in terms of the amount of annual rainfall, more exotic locations in the world take the crown. But the number of rainy days in the UK has surely got to be high. We seem to have endless days of fine, drizzly, but-it’ll-soak-you-through rain. So, just to narrow it down a bit, and because I live in London, I thought I’d take a look at the average number of rainy days per month in London.

In total, on average, we Londoners need an umbrella a whopping 186 days a year. That’s over half the year!*

Here’s the breakdown of the average number of rainy days by month, starting with the highest. Unfortunately, there weren’t any months with no rainy days. In fact, there wasn’t any month with less than 13 rainy days.

  • January: 19 rainy days.

Not surprising, we’re right in the middle of Winter by January. The rain is usually accompanied by freezing cold days.

  • November and December: 17 rainy days.

Because who needs snow during Christmas when you have an abundance of rain?

  • February, March, April: 16 days.

Ah, yes, Spring. April Showers are more like April Downpours.

  • May, September, October: 15 days.

A bit surprising, actually. I was expecting October to be on the higher end of the list. But, hey, raining for half the month isn’t exactly low, either.

  • July: 14 days.

How depressing is it that in mid-summer we still need an umbrella for almost half the month?

  • June, August: 13 days.

I suppose we should be pleased that, at least, the summer months are ‘low’ on the number of rainy days. 13 days is under half. Glass half full and all that…

So, although we don’t have Mawsynram levels of rainfall in London, it really does rain a significant amount in terms of the number of days. I concede. There is truth to the stereotype. Maybe investing in a more expensive umbrella is a good idea. You’d certainly get your money’s worth!

*The full dataset can be found here.

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