The threat of severe weather looms over the start of June, after the month of May was relatively quiet as far as bad storms. State climatologist Harry Hillaker say last month was notable for its extremes in rainfall and in temperatures. Hillaker says Iowans saw rainfall well above and well below average, depending on their location.
The statewide average was around 4.25 inches, which is roughly a quarter-inch above normal for May, but some areas were far from the norm. Parts of southeast Iowa, around Burlington, got nearly ten-inches of rainfall for the month, while northwest Iowa was very dry. Sioux City only got about one-and-a-quarter inches of rain.
Hillaker says temperatures, too, were all over the map, though the statewide average temperature was very close to normal. He says there was a lot of variability in the extremes. There was a freeze over much of the state on May 9th with temps as low as 27-degrees in some areas. That’s contrasted with a statewide high of 96-degrees, recorded in Algona on May 24th.
While May and June are usually Iowa’s worst months for severe weather, Hillaker says May was generally quiet, though there were a few bad storms with hail and heavy rain. Still, he says there were no tornadoes during May — and none this year, so far.
“That streak won’t last forever and certainly it’s very, very, very likely to end sometime this month,” Hillaker says. “It could even end in the next few days with what looks like a pretty active weather pattern.”
The last time Iowa went this far into the year without a single tornado was 1980.