Whitsunday • Tilburgers.nl • Nature, environment and animals

All photos by John Gerts

The origin of Pentecost lies in the mosaic laws that were given to the nation of Israel after their exodus from Egypt. The Book of Leviticus mentions in the Bible that on the fiftieth day, the day after the seventh Saturday of Passover, new sacrifices were to be made before God, as a kind of end to Passover. Eid was also known as the “Weekly Feast”. The “first-fruits” of grain and livestock were to be sacrificed, a meeting was to be held, and no one was allowed to go about their usual business. In Christianity, the Feast of Weeks was called “Pentecost”, after the Greek word “pentekostos” (= fifty). Pentecost commemorates that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, descended from heaven upon the apostles. The Holy Spirit manifested visually in the form of fire and in the sound of wind. Pentecost always falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter.

If we look at the weather, Pentecost has the best weather numbers for all the holidays. Sun and heat usually prevail on Pentecost, whose final dates are from May 10 to June 13. On average, this is the sunniest period of the year with about 7 to 8 hours of sunshine every day (sometimes more than 15 hours, like last year) and afternoon temperature from 15 to 16 degrees at sea to 18 to 20 degrees Inside . In 2008, that fell on May 11 and we had the deadline on June 13, 1943.

Of course, the weather can vary greatly from year to year, but the chance of warm weather in general is very high: on 52 Whitsun days, the temperature has been at least 20 degrees in De Bilt since 1901, of which 18 degrees are in summer with degrees Heat up to 25 degrees or more. The last tropical temperature in our country was over 30 degrees in 1985, when temperatures were measured from 27 to 31 degrees on May 26 and 27. Also in 1979 (June 3) White Monday was warm tropical in places, but at De Bilt mercury stayed at 29.9 °C, also the highest temperature ever recorded there. On White Monday, on the other hand, the equatorial boundary at De Bilt was crossed once, which occurred on May 29, 1944 at 30.0°C. Averaged over the two Whitsun days, the warmest was in 1903 when a combined average temperature of 29.3 °C was measured on May 31 and June 1. But it can also be cold, because on those first 21 days of Pentecost, the temperature was cooler than 15 degrees in De Bilt. Like last year when the mercury hung at 14.9 degrees Celsius. Six years ago, on May 15, 2016, the temperature became 12.6°C in Tilburg and 12.1°C in De Bilt. Only on May 31, 1936 it was colder with 11.6 degrees Celsius. It was also cold in 2001 when Berkel-Enchote recorded 14.2 °C on June 3 and de Bilt recorded 13.0 °C. The lowest temperature ever measured at Whitsun occurred on White Monday on June 1, 1936, when mercury at De Bilt dropped to 0.0°C. For Whit Monday, the cold record there was 0.9°C, recorded on May 19, 1907, and May 20, 1956.

Regarding precipitation, we can say that since 1906, about half of Whitsun’s days are dry and the other half with some rain. Whitsun days are fully rained and are exceptional days. It fell more than 10mm on White Monday in just four days. The last time this happened was in 2007 (May 27) when the 18mm was collected. The first rainy day on Pentecost was in De Bilt on May 20, 1945 when 23 mm was tapped. But on June 13, 2011 (White Monday) it came out in droves, recording 59mm, roughly the monthly amount for June. Huge amounts of rain are often caused by thunderstorms after very high temperatures. We saw it happen in 1985 (May 26) which deteriorated locally with tens of millimeters of rain. In 2003, on White Monday (June 8), a particularly active shower line passed with thunderstorms and even tornadoes. Also in Whitsun 2004 (May 30), warm weather combined with eastern summer temperatures brought torrential rain, with a drop of more than 30 mm locally. The very hot weather is still exceptional at this time of year and easily leads to thunderstorms. This year it’s that time again. On this first day of Pentecost, KNMI has declared a yellow code for thunderstorms with heavy rain, which can fall more than 40 mm.

Perhaps the worst Pentecost in history, our country witnessed in the year 1860 when a severe storm with winds of over 120 km/h on May 26 and 27 caused massive damage. Wind speed was measured 115 km/h in Utrecht and the wind was strongest in Vlissingen at 151 km/h. The result was the loss of part of the Scheveningen fleet. At that time there were no weather forecasts and this storm was a disaster. The infamous Whitsun storm prompted then-KNMI Director Buys Ballot to issue storm warnings, so that the Netherlands was one of the first countries to have a storm warning service started in 1864.

In fact, we always see the sun on Pentecost. The years 1937, 1973 and 1992 are the only exceptions when this day was not sunny in De Bilt. In 1973 and 1992 this was compensated for by a very sunny White Monday, but this did not happen in 1937, which would decline as he noted the darkest Pentecost ever. On White Monday, the sun rose for 0.3 hours. Incidentally, in second place is 1965, where 0.2 hours of sunshine was observed on both the first and second days of Pentecost and the total sunshine was 0.4 hours of sunshine. On the other hand, Pentecost 1903 and 1929 had record sunshine with a total of 28.1 hours of sunshine. Plus, Whit Monday tops the list with no less than 16.4 hours of sunshine. Two years ago, it was also very sunny in Whitsun with a total of 27.4 hours of sunshine spread over 15.2 hours on Monday in Whitsun and 12.2 hours of sunshine the next day.

Pink weather 2015-2021
Last year (May 23-24) we had a Pentecost split. It was a dry Easter Sunday with alternating sun and clouds. Only during the evening did the light begin to fall and this continued throughout the second day of Pentecost. With 16 to 17 degrees on both days, it was cold on Pentecost around Tilburg. On the other hand, Pentecost 2020 is one of the most beautiful places ever. The sunny, dry and warm weather of the past weeks did not budge and continued with Pentecost. On Sunday, May 31, the temperature was 23.6 degrees Celsius in Birkel-Inchot with sunshine punctuated by clouds of veil. A day later, on the first day of meteorological summer, the summer limit of 25 degrees was immediately reached: 27.4 °C and a day later, Whitson became tropical on June 2 to 30.6 °C in Tilburg. The disadvantage of both days is the sun, because it was very high, you quickly burn out. There was no question about rain and shine on both my fifties at Berkele-Inchot for at least 29 hours!

Three years ago, we started on a turbulent Whitson Saturday, recording winds of around 70 km/h and 90 km/h in Brabant. But on Pentecost itself (9-10 June) it was calm and we had an alternation of clouds and sun. On the first day of Pentecost, it was mainly cloudy. Later in the day it became so thick that a few drops of it fell off. A day later, at the end of the afternoon, a shower area with thunderstorms passed in Birkel-Inchot, which again triggered 12 thunderbolts. Temperatures were above 20°C on both days with 22.2°C and 24.3°C, respectively. In 2018, it was hot during the Whitsun days, which started with fog. When the sun came out, the mercury rose to 26.0 degrees Celsius on White Sunday. After a day it was slightly warmer with 27.7°C. But then the heat in the Limburg hills was punished by inclement weather: 40mm fell in short order on White Monday (May 21) in Norbeck. There was a thunderstorm late in the evening in Berkele-Inchot, but no rain. In 2017 (4-5 June) the weather was good. And it remained dry on both days, and the temperature on Easter Day and Eid Monday was 21.6 degrees Celsius and 23.9 degrees Celsius, respectively. The sun and clouds alternated. On the other hand, in 2016 (May 15-16), we experienced a very cold and wet Pentecost. Temperatures dropped to 11 to 13 degrees, and the weekend in Whitsun was extremely cold. It has become the coldest Whitsun since 1951 and the second coldest day ever in Whitsun! In addition, there were showers or some light rain on both days. Pentecost 2015 has two sides. Beautiful first day of Pentecost (May 24, 2015) with 13 hours of sunshine and temperatures soaring to 22 degrees. But after a day, it was gloomy and partly to severely cloudy. Some light rain fell at night and in the morning, and the temperature did not exceed 17 degrees.

Pink weather 2014 – storm
Eight years ago we lived one of the hottest days of the fifties (June 8-9), and we knew it. In 2014, the temperature was over 28 degrees on both days, but the weather was disappointing. There was a lot of cloud cover and rain, some of it was accompanied by hail and thunder. On White Saturday it is tropical in Brabant with around 31 degrees. But the atmosphere became unstable, which affected the days of Whitsun. On the morning of White Monday the first showers fell, and at night until White Monday, we were woken by 14 thunderbolts at Birkel-Inchot. Then at the beginning of the afternoon, a thunderstorm area moved over our area with dozens of thunderstorms, during which it lasted for five minutes and recorded high winds. And in the evening, the last of 15 thunderstorms was followed by thunder. In short, 2014 has been irresistible. And this year it will be, because thunderstorms with heavy rainfall are on their way to us.

Pinkster Weather 2007-2013
In 2013 we again reached two different fifties. White Monday (May 19) was fine with plenty of sunshine and temperatures rising from 18 to 19 degrees in the afternoon. I stayed dry. However, in the evening, it became very cloudy and that was part of the precipitation zone that moved over our country on White Monday. Only at night until White Monday did some rain fall around Tilburg, but it remained dry for the rest of Monday. It was dim because the sun had not come all day and it was very cold with the temperature barely reaching 13 degrees. Pentecost 2012 was scheduled to pass through an episode. On both days (May 27-28), the sun’s rays set the weather with occasional high veils clouds. Mercury readings showed summer values ​​of 28 and 27 degrees, respectively. In 2011 (June 12-13) these holidays had different weather images. On the first day of Pentecost, we began to be sunny, which slowly turned into veil clouds and a rain followed into the night. On the other hand, it was cloudy on White Monday. Some light rain fell all over the country and remained completely dry in some places. Mercury levels were at a level of 21 degrees on both days. 2010 and 2009 were beautiful again. In Tilburg it became summer on both days (23-24 May 2010) with 26.7°C with plenty of sunshine. Thirteen years ago (31 May – 1 June) it was also very sunny which also caused the temperature to rise to summer values. On White Monday 2009 it was 25.2°C in Birkel-Enscott, and a day later it was much warmer with over 28°C. There was a thunderstorm in the afternoon, but there was no rain. Whitsuntide was also pretty in 2008 with an average score of 27 in Tilburg. Quite different from 2007 when Pentecost was bleak on May 27 and 28. The weather was mostly cloudy, even some light rain fell later on the feast Monday. And the temperature was still around 20 degrees on Sunday, and the next day it was only 16 degrees.

This year will not be good, because on this first day of Pentecost and tomorrow there will be showers that can be accompanied by thunderstorms. But the most important is the amount of precipitation. Today more than 40mm can fall causing flooding. Therefore, KNMI has also announced the symbol in yellow. While the temperatures in the past two days have been between 25 and 26 degrees Celsius, this holiday season we will have to contend with around 20 degrees Celsius.

Source: KNMI and Jean-Paul Corst
5 June 2022

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