Crozet Weather Almanac: May 2016

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By Heidi Sonen & Roscoe Shaw

May 2016
May 2016

May is generally considered the nicest month to be in Central Virginia.  But this year, rain fell on 25 days including a stretch of 19 in a row that started in April.  I think it is fair to say that everybody is sick of it.

The total rainfall at our house was 6.44,” which is plenty, but not that unusual.  The May average is a healthy 4.51”.  What was unusual is the sheer number of rainy days and cloudy skies.  Was this a record for most rainy days ever in a month?  That’s not so easy to determine, but it was close.

Scanning our database back to 1894, I can’t find a month with more rainy days.  However, I did notice that recent years tend to have more rainy days.  This, I suspect, is because of more sensitive electronic rain gauges rather than any real change in climate.  In the old days, an observer checked the gauge once a day and likely missed quite a few days with a very small amount.  These days, electronic gauges detect a smidgen at 3am when everybody is asleep.  This difference doesn’t change the overall total much, but it does change the number of days.

Regardless of measuring methods, below is a list of the rainiest months, counting days with at least 0.01”.  This month had two days with a trace, so there were 23 days with at least 0.01”.

  • May 2016             23
  • May 2003             22
  • July 2009              21
  • July 2013              21
  • July 1969              20
  • January 1937        20

The driest month ever has a clear winner.  October 2000 had only one day of rain and just 0.01” fell.  The same thing happened in October of 1920 when just one rainy day dropped 0.08”.

Will the rainy weather continue?  Right now, the forecast models look normal and historically, a wet month is not followed by another wet one.  Do you remember how dry it was the first part of April?  The weather changes quickly and it is almost impossible to forecast beyond about 10 days.

If May seemed cold, you are correct.  The cloud cover made the average high almost five degrees below normal.  Certain Memorial Day flowers have not bloomed yet but warm June weather seems to have settled in now.

Rainfall

  • Crozet Elementary  7.69”
  • Mint Springs  6.44”
  • Ivy 5.60”
  • Yancey Mills 5.37”
  • White Hall 5.90”
  • Waynesboro 5.40”
  • CHO Airport 5.53”
  • Univ. of VA 7.74”
  • Wintergreen 10.31”

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