Beneficial Rainfall

By Russell Russ

May’s weather was not the most pleasant. Following a much warmer than normal and very spring-like April, May was mostly cool, cloudy and wet. On the plus side, May did bring much needed rainfall to the area. It was the first month since February 2016 where the monthly precipitation amount was above normal. Norfolk is still carrying a rainfall deficit for this calendar year, and the running two year deficit is still a concern, but perhaps May has turned the tide and we will finally be making some progress in the rainfall department.

May’s low temperature of 30 degrees was observed on May 9 and the high of 89 degrees was observed on May 18. The first half of the month was much cooler than normal, but a mid-month warm spell with a couple of record breaking days changed that. The May 17 high of 87 degrees surpassed the old 1974 record of 83 and the May 18 high of 89 surpassed the 1962 high of 86. The high of 84 degrees on May 19 was a few degrees shy of a record.

With an average monthly mean temperature of 53.2 degrees, the month ended up being 1.7 degrees cooler than average. It was cool, but May’s temperature was nowhere near any record. It was however the coolest May since 2008. The coolest May on record was in 1967 with 46.8 degrees. The warmest May was in 2015 with 61.8 degrees.

May’s total precipitation amount of 5.61 inches was 1.26 inches above normal. Norfolk’s driest May was in 1980 with 1.31 inches and the wettest May was in 1984 with 12.34 inches. Through May this year our total precipitation amount was 18.79 inches. This is still 1.86 inches below normal, but the yearly deficit was decreased this month.

A brief burst of morning snow and snow showers throughout the day on May 8 brought just a trace of snowfall. Snow might not be welcome in May, but it does happen fairly regularly in Norfolk. Even with this brief snowfall, May’s monthly snowfall was still 0.4 inch below normal. The 2016-2017 winter season snowfall amount ended up being just 1.1 inches below normal. The winter was fairly average for snowfall, but we are running 13.4 inches below normal for snowfall for the 2017 calendar year.

A look ahead to June’s weather shows that the month began much like May did, much cooler than normal and quite cloudy and wet. A mini heat wave with a couple of record setting warm days June 11 to 13 will certainly bring up the month’s temperature average. Rainfall was about average through mid-month. June might not go down as being the most pleasant weather-wise, but summer had definitely arrived and the looming rainfall deficit’s grip seems to be loosening.