Highly Ranked for Rainfall

By Russell Russ

May started out cooler than normal and through mid-month was very much on the cool, cloudy and rainy side. The raw feel made many people wonder where early summer was. Conditions changed towards the middle of the month with warmer temperatures and sunnier skies. That was right up until Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of summer. It was a very cool and wet weekend, perhaps some of the worst weather we have seen here for Memorial Day Weekend in a long time. A wind chill of 30 degrees and nearly two inches of rain on May 29 put a damper on many planned outdoor activities. But, we needed the rain, right?

May’s low temperature of 33 degrees was observed on May 1 and the high of 86 degrees was observed on May 26. With an average monthly mean temperature of 55.0 degrees, it was just 0.1 degree above normal. There were no record daily temperatures this month. 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 7.75 inches, 3.41 inches above normal. This was the first month of 2021 that was above average for total precipitation. This May had reached its normal amount for precipitation by about May 26, then we received nearly another four inches during the following several days. It ended up being tied with 1940 as Norfolk’s fourth wettest May over the last 90 years. It took a big bite out of 2021’s precipitation deficit. Through May, the total precipitation for 2021 was 18.39 inches, now just 2.22 inches below normal for the year. Norfolk’s wettest May was in 1984 with 12.34 inches, the driest was in 1980 with 1.31 inches.

Although it felt cold and raw enough for snow on many days, there was no snowfall recorded this May. This was 0.4 inch below normal, but there have been many Mays without any snowfall. Norfolk’s winter season snowfall total for 2020-2021 ended up being 77.6 inches, 11.5 inches below normal. Norfolk’s 2021 snowfall total through May was 53.5 inches, 11.3 inches below normal. February’s snowfall of 35.0 inches makes up a majority of these snow totals. Norfolk’s (and Connecticut’s) snowiest May on record (by far) was in 1977 when an amazing 20.0 inches was recorded.

An early look at June’s weather through mid-month shows that temperatures were running about two degrees above normal. Precipitation was below normal, but a good thunderstorm or two can go a long ways towards increasing monthly and yearly totals. By June 15, Norfolk had observed three June thunderstorms. Two thunderstorms occurred on June 14, and while short in duration, they both came with some wind, numerous lightning strikes and some brief heavy rainfall. Summer has arrived in Norfolk.