The weather was just crazy in May. We dropped to 34 degrees on the 9th which is only five degrees from the coldest ever. Then on the 17th, we soared to 94 which is only 5 degrees from the warmest May day ever. But the headline was not temperature. Rainfall stole the show. A total of 9.99 inches of rain fell, second in the record books only to 1971 when 10.53” fell. We still have a chance at the record since this month’s newspaper deadline forces us to write a day early. A chance of thunderstorms is still lurking for the last day of the month.
The rain fell so hard that it even cancelled school for two hours on May 5th. In all, rain fell on 14 days with over an inch falling four times. Rainfall was heavy in late April as well, making this an epic grass growing month. Fescue is the most common grass in Virginia and it grows fastest when high temps are in the low 70s. The average high in May was 75. When the rain stopped, the sound of mowers filled the air.
Rainfall anomalies do not tend to persist from month to month, so the wet May does not give us any clue about June’s rain. We have some skill at forecasting temperature a month in advance, but rainfall in Virginia is basically just a dice roll beyond 10 days.
Nationally, drought is at near record low levels. Parts of Central Florida and some of South Georgia are dry right now, but the other 99% of the country has ample moisture heading into the prime farm season. The historic California drought was smashed over the winter with record rains and snows. In Central Virginia, reservoirs are maxed and we have no chance of long-term drought developing this year.
June is the third warmest month of the year. July is hottest followed by August. Highs average 81 on June 1st and 87 by the 4th of July. The first day of summer comes on June 21st when the twilight will last until 9:11 p.m. The hottest day of summer, on average, is July 18th.