May, Climate, Stateofclimate

May, Climate

May capped off a warm, dry spring and ushered in 1st tropical storm of 2021 | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Part of Gulf Coast recovering from last summer’s hurricanes hit with severe flooding

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SEE: U.S. map of May 2021 Significant Climate Events from NOAANCEIclimate. Download at: StateOfClimate

Part of Gulf Coast recovering from last summer’s hurricanes hit with severe flooding

June 8, 2021A flooded parking lot with a car partially submerged in high waters in front of a local business in Lake Charles, Louisiana, after slow-moving thunderstorms dropped more than a foot of rain on May 17, 2021.(NOAA NWS Forecast Office Lake Charles La.)

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Despite a warm spring and year to date, May 2021 was just about average for both temperature and precipitation across the U.S., according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.But May also brought the, near the end of the month.

Below are highlights from our May U.S. monthly climate report:Climate by the numbersMay 2021The average May temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 60.4 degrees F (0.2 of a degree above the 20th-century average), which ranked  in the middle third of the 127-year record.

Below-average temperatures covered the northern Rockies, Central and Southern Plains, central Gulf Coast, Southeast and the Ohio Valley. The month saw above-average temperatures across parts of the West Coast,  Southwest, New England and Florida.

The average precipitation for May was 2.94 inches (0.03 of an inch above average), which ranked in the middle third of the record. A soggy setup brought the fifth-wettest May to Louisiana and Texas. California had its fourth-driest May, while Florida and Utah saw their ninth driest.

Meteorological spring and the year to date (YTD)  The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during meteorological spring (March through May) was 52.6 degrees F (1.7 degrees above the 20th-century average), which ranked in the warmest third of the record. With a precipitation total of 7.53 inches (0.41 of an inch below average), this spring placed in the driest third of the climate record and was the driest since 2006.

The average U.S. temperature for the year to date (January through May) was 44.6 degrees F (1.3 degrees above average) and ranked in the middle third of the record. The first five months of 2021 were also quite dry, with a precipitation total of 11.65 inches -- 0.74 of an inch below average -- making it the driest YTD since 2012.

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A map of the United States plotted with significant climate events that occurred during May 2021. Please see article text below as well as the full climate report highlights at NCEI)Other notable May climate highlights

Flooding emergency for parts of the Gulf Coast: Slow-moving thunderstorms dropped torrential rainfall across portions of coastal Texas and Louisiana on May 17-18, which resulted in widespread flash flooding, power outages and hundreds of water rescues.

, an area still recovering from damage caused by Hurricanes Laura and Delta last summer.Early tropical storm sets record: Tropical Storm Ana formed in the Atlantic Ocean on May 22, making it a record seventh-consecutive hurricane season where at least one named storm formed in the Atlantic Basin before the official start of the season on June 1.

Drought improved overall, but some states got even drier: Read more: »

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