A Tale of Two Halves

By Russell Russ

Norfolk’s May weather this year can be summed up as being a month with a split personality. The first half of May was cold with some snow. April’s cooler than normal weather spilled over into early May. The second half of the month turned much more seasonable with warm temperatures and sunny skies. On paper, the month’s final totals and averages almost averaged-out, but that is just on paper. It was a strange month for weather, but it did launch us all into summer.

May’s low temperature of 26 degrees was observed on May 9 and the high of 83 degrees was observed on May 26. With an average monthly mean temperature of 54.1 degrees, it was 0.8 degree below normal. After experiencing the first half of this May it is hard to believe that in the end, last May actually ended up being colder. Norfolk’s warmest May occurred in 2015 with a temperature of 61.8 degrees, the coldest was in 1967 with 46.8.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 2.66 inches, 1.69 inches below normal. Through May, the total precipitation for 2020 was 15.65 inches. Through the end of May, Norfolk was looking at a yearly deficit of 5.02 inches. A big difference from last year when Norfolk was looking at a precipitation surplus of 2.14 inches through May. Norfolk’s wettest May was in 1984 with 12.34 inches, the driest was in 1980 with 1.31 inches.

May’s snowfall total of 1.0 inch was 0.6 inch above normal. It was not much snow, but it was enough to rank this May as tied with 1978 as Norfolk’s fifth snowiest May over the last 89 years. Norfolk’s 2020 snowfall total through May was just 31.1 inches, 34.1 inches below normal. Norfolk’s (and Connecticut’s) snowiest May on record was in 1977 when an amazing 20.0 inches was recorded. Our 2nd snowiest May was in 1945 with 5.6 inches.

It is hard to believe, but wintery precipitation is fairly common in Norfolk in May. Over the last 89 months of May, Norfolk has recorded some form of snow or sleet during 42 of those months. There have been 13 Mays with measurable amounts (0.1 inch or more) of wintery precipitation and 29 Mays that have recorded a trace amount. In Norfolk, spring does finally arrive, but winter usually throws in a few last minute surprises.

The Winter Season officially ended after May and this season’s (October-May) snowfall total was 57.1 inches, 32.4 inches below normal. The 2019-2020 Winter Season snowfall was the 12th least amount on record. Last winter ranked 11th least. Not a good two year span for snow lovers or those that make a living from snow.

An early look at June’s weather through mid-month shows that temperatures were about normal, but precipitation was way below normal. The first half of June had some beautiful weather, but rain is needed in this region. Lawns turning brown by mid-June is not a good sign. At some point we will need to trade off some beautiful sunny weather for some rain.