State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says May continued a wet-cool trend that’s so-far defined the weather in 2008. Hillaker says the precipitation was running very close to normal in May until the last week when there was a lot of rain, and widespread flooding. Statewide the rainfall averaged five-and-three-quarters of an inch, which was an inch-and-a-half greater than usual.
Hillaker says you had to drive to some far corners of the state to find drier than normal areas in May. He says the extreme northeast corner of Iowa, in Allamakee and Winneshiek counties, were drier than usual for May, also parts of extreme northwestern Iowa, and the extreme southeast corner as well. Hillaker says, through five months, the rainfall totals are not far from the top ten in records.
So far this year, the state is averaging 15-and-a-quarter inches of precipitation, about three-and-a-half inches above normal. "It actually ranks 13th wettest start to the year in 136 years of records, so it’s been quite a wet start to this 2008," Hillaker says. All the wet weather has also kept things cooler.
Hillaker says temperatures ran about two-and-a-half degrees below normal in May. "In fact, you only had one location, Shenandoah, that reached the 90 degree mark during the month," Hillaker says, "in fact that’s the only place that’s done it this year in Iowa. They reached 91-degrees on May 5th." Hillaker says it’s unusual to not see warmer temperatures at this time of year, and says it’s the sixth consecutive month of below normal temperatures in Iowa. The overall year has been a little cooler than normal.
Hillaker says it ranks as the 32nd coldest year for the first five months. "Basically, we’ve been consistently cold, but none of those months extremely cold," Hillaker says. He says it’s the coldest start to the year since 2002. Hillaker says complete numbers on the number of tornadoes in the month are still being compiled by the National Weather Service.