State climatologist Harry Hillaker says the month of May ended up pretty close to average when you look at rainfall and temperatures from across the state.
“The most unusual characteristic of this past month of May is just how frequently we had rainfall. Any individual location in the state probably had anywhere from 20 to 25 days of rain during the month — which is roughly about double the usual number of days,” Hillaker says.
The number of days it rained made it seem like a lot more rain than normal was falling — but that wasn’t the case. “The statewide average was just over five inches, 5.13 inches to be precise. And that’s a little over a half inch above normal, so nothing unusual there,” Hillaker says. “But it sure was coming quite frequently during the month.”
All those cloudy May days didn’t hold the temperature down that much either. “Statewide it’s going to be about eight-tenths of a degree warmer than typical for May. Far western Iowa was just a little bit below normal — a fraction of a degree there — the eastern two-thirds a degree or two above normal,” according to Hillaker.
While there were plenty of rain clouds and lightening in May, Hillaker says there wasn’t a lot of severe weather. “We did have a few tornadoes in the state, the biggest one being in Lake City back on May the 3rd. But overall, much less severe weather in the month of May than what typical,” Hilllacker says. “May and June are usually the two biggest months of the year, and hopeful that trend of less than normal severe weather will continue into June as well.”
The numbers for the first five months of 2015 are running pretty close to the average in the record books. “Precipitation wise we are running just a little bit drier than usual, about an inch-and-a-third less rainfall than the long-term average,” Hillaker explains. “Although oddly enough, that’s actually the driest start to the year that we’ve had in 12 years, going back to 2003. Just barely drier than we had one year ago.”
The average temperature for the year thus far is about one degree below normal. “And almost all of that is because of the very cold February that we’ve had…the past three months, March, April and May have all been just slightly warmer than normal. Year to date, a little bit cooler than usual, thanks to February,” Hillaker says. Hillaker says the early forecast for June is for things to continue much the way they did in May.