MADRID ALTHOUGH May this year in Spain was generally speaking, drier than normal with an average of 20 percent less rainfall, northern parts of Majorca had more than three times the rainfall expected at the time of year, the National Weather Agency (AEMET) reported yesterday.

Average values are worked out from the time records were first kept in 1971 across 30 years to the end of the last century. AEMET also said that temperatures for the month had been “normal.” But the assessment wasn't uniform across the country, said one source at AEMET. Whilst prolonged dry spells had been registered in some regions of the mainland particularly in Andalucia, the Balearics was one of the places where it had, in contrast, been very wet due to some days of intense rainfall.

Looking at the rainfall patterns for the month, the first ten days were the wettest with showers, drizzle and storms in most of the country. Rainfall however, was at its most intense in the northeast of Catalonia and above all in north Majorca where cloudbursts and squally gales during the 3rd and 4th May clocked up more than 200 litres per square metre.

In terms of maximum daily rainfall measured across the country in May, Palma had the highest amount on 3rd May - 112.5 litres per square metre in the city and 106.7 litres at Palma airport, all just within 24 hours. The figure for Palma city was the highest measured for a single day since 1934.

Temperatures for the whole of Spain were up by 0.2 degrees centigrade in comparison with the 1971-2000 average. There were considerable regional differences. Although it was particularly hot in parts of Galicia and Andalucia - in the Balearics, temperatures in May were colder than usual, especially in Minorca where it was particularly cold.

At the other end of the scale, the Canary Islands yet again proved to be “particularly hot” for the time of year - between one and two degrees above the average being registered in the majority of the regional weather stations.