Precipitation totals across the country were mixed during May, with the nation as a whole being drier-than-average. The nationally averaged precipitation total of 2.51 inches was 0.36 inch below average. The coastal Southeast received some drought relief when Tropical Storm Beryl brought heavy rains to the region late in the month.
This monthly analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.
U.S. climate highlights -- May
- Warmer-than-average temperatures occurred across the contiguous U.S. except the Northwest in May. Twenty-six states had May temperatures ranking among their ten warmest.
- Precipitation patterns across the contiguous U.S. were mixed during May. The Eastern Seaboard and Upper Midwest were wetter than average. North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire and Minnesota had May precipitation totals among their ten wettest. Dry conditions prevailed across the Mid-Mississippi River Valley, Southern Plains and the Interior West with Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nevada and Utah having a top ten dry May.
- Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville, Fla., on May 28, bringing beneficial rainfall to parts of the drought-stricken Southeast. Beryl occurred on the heels of Tropical Storm Alberto, which occurred offshore the Carolinas, marking the third time on record that two tropical cyclones reached tropical storm strength during May (prior to the start of June 1 hurricane season) in the North Atlantic basin.
- Ongoing drought, combined with windy conditions, created ideal wildfire conditions across the Southwest. The Whitewater-Baldy Fire complex in the Gila National Forest of western New Mexico charred over 210,000 acres by the beginning of June. It surpassed 2011's Las Conchas Fire as largest wildfire on record for the state.