So NOAA is out with its monthly update of climatic conditions in the contiguous United States. The latest report covers the month of May. Here are some of the key takeaways:
- The average temperature for the contiguous US during May was 61.0°F, making it 0.9°F above the monthly average for the 20th century. May was the 339th consecutive month in which the average temperature in the contiguous US was higher than the 20th century average. If you were born after February 1985 (as I was), you have never known a climate not altered by the hand of man.
- May was warmer than average in the Northeast and the West, but it was considerably cooler than average in the South. Florida and Georgia had their 11th and 12th coolest Mays on record, respectively. California had the warmest average temperature, relative to other May records, of any state; it was its 18th warmest May.
- As you could probably tell by looking outside, May was extremely wet. It wast the 17th wettest May on record; the total precipitation average (3.34 inches) was 0.47 inches about the 20th century average. May was particularly damp in the Midwest and Great Plains, where Iowa had its wettest May on record, and North Dakota had its second wettest May.
- Despite the above average rainfall (and snowfall, for that matter), much of the country west of the Mississippi River continues to experience at least moderate drought. While the total land area under drought fell by 2.8% during May, 44.1% of the US (including Alaska & Hawaii) remains in drought conditions. This prolonged drought is contributing to historic wildfires in Colorado and California.
The moral of the story: it may not be as insanely hot as last year, but climate change is here to stay, folks.