Beautiful Early Summer Weather

By Russell Russ 

May started out cool and wet. After the first week, the weather turned warmer and much drier. There were numerous sunny or partly sunny days this month, seemingly many more clear days than a typical May. Hard to complain about nice weather. For the second year in a row, Norfolk had wonderful early summer weather for the entire Memorial Day Weekend. One downside to the month’s weather was a hard frost on May 18. The widespread late frost caused damage to many trees and plants around Norfolk and surrounding towns.

May’s low temperature of 27 degrees was observed on May 18. This tied the 1983 record low temperature for that date. Frost is fairly common in certain lower elevation areas in May, but this brief cold snap was unusual because it was so widespread – and damaging. The high of 82 degrees was observed on May 28. With an average monthly mean temperature of 53.9 degrees, it was 1.0 degree below normal. It was Norfolk’s first month of 2023 with a below normal monthly mean temperature. 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 3.09 inches, 1.25 inches below normal. After a cool and wet first week, it was very dry for the remainder of the month. The only measurable rainfall that occurred after May 8 was 1.38 inches that fell on May 20. One rainy day out of the final twenty-three days of the month. Through May, the total precipitation for 2023 totaled 18.39 inches, 2.22 inches below normal. A rainfall deficit is slowly growing as we head into the summer months. Norfolk’s driest May was in 1980 with 1.31 inches, the wettest was in 1984 with 12.34 inches. 

The end of May officially closed out the winter snowfall season. Norfolk’s last measurable snowfall came in March. April and May each totaled just a trace of wintry precipitation. Norfolk’s (and Connecticut’s) snowiest May on record (by far) was in 1977 when an amazing 20.0 inches was recorded. Norfolk’s final snowfall total for the 2022-2023 winter season was 63.3 inches. This was 25.8 inches below normal, but not high ranking for least amount for a winter. Had it not been for March’s 31.3 inches, this winter would have been very high ranking and possibly the least snowy winter on record.   

An early look at June’s weather through mid-month showed that temperatures were running cooler than normal despite two days with near record setting high temperatures. Highs of 87 on June 1 and 89 on June 2 were just shy of records for Norfolk. Early June did see several days with rain, including two thunderstorms, but overall rainfall was running a little below normal. We all want nice weather, but to ease the growing rainfall deficit, we do need to pick up more rain. For much of the east coast of the US, including Norfolk, early June was highlighted by numerous days with haze and smoke filled skies from Canadian wildfires. The number of wildfires, their locations and the way weather patterns (upper level winds) have set up this June, have all contributed to the worst widespread smoke conditions that many have ever witnessed in this part of the US.