NATIONAL WEATHER SUMMARY
4th-10th…Much of Interstate 80 in southern Wyoming was closed Monday after a spring storm brought up to 3 feet of snow to the Rockies and severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to the Midwest. A flash flood watch was in effect for portions of Oklahoma and Arkansas, where more than 4 inches of rain were possible. Meanwhile, residents in eastern Nebraska were cleaning up from Sunday's thunderstorms and twisters, which ripped roofs off homes and toppled buildings, but caused no major injuries. People in the western Panhandle woke up to a blanket of heavy, wet snow. In Wyoming, a 180-mile stretch of I-80 was closed between the Nebraska state line and Rawlins. Another 200 miles of eastbound I-80 between the Utah state line and Rawlins also was closed because of snow and blowing snow. Truck stops in southeastern Wyoming were full of stranded truckers. In Colorado, the snow that began falling on Mother's Day caused some power outages as it weighed down newly greening trees. Among those affected by the outages was Denver International Airport, where some escalators and elevators temporarily stalled Monday morning. Airport spokeswoman Julie Smith said a backup generator spared the airport any major problems. At least 27 arriving and departing flights were canceled due to the weather, but Smith said there were no major delays. Crews were working overnight to de-ice runways.
11th-17th…Heavy rain preceded and accompanied a late-season surge of cool air. Most of the eastern half of the nation received at least an inch of rain, with 2 to 4 inch totals were common from eastern Texas into the central and eastern Plains, and in the Atlantic Coast States. Weekly temperatures averaged at least 10F below normal across portion northern Plains and upper Midwest. In addition, a widespread, several days freeze event affected the Rockies, Intermountain West, northwestern half of the Plains, and northern Plain. Several days of warmth preceded the wet, cool weather in the eastern U.S., while an early season heat wave gradually spread inland from the Pacific Coast. Weekly temperatures averaged at least 10F above normal along and near the coast in southern California, where drought and hot, dry, windy conditions contributed to a rash of wildfires. Extraordinarily dry conditions also persisted on the southern Plains, despite widely scattered showers.
Early in the week, record-setting warmth prevailed in the East and developed along the Pacific Coast. Hartford, CT (90F on May 12), tallied its first 90F reading since September 11, 2013. A day later, record setting highs for May 13 included 94F in Naples, FL, and Richmond, VA. Warmth lingered in the Northeast through May 15, when Massena, NY, logged a daily-record high of 92F. Farther west, a week-long hot spell led to dozens of daily and several monthly records. From May 12-16, San Diego, CA, ran off a string of five consecutive daily record highs (88, 94, 93, 97, and 92F). On May 14, Camarillo and Oxnard, CA, reached 102F and set monthly records (previously, 98F on multiple dates in both locations). It was the highest temperature in both locations since June 17, 1981.
Downtown Los Angeles, CA, attained 102F on May 15—the highest May reading in that location since May 16, 1967. Meanwhile, LAX Airport (97F on May 15) tied a monthly record previously achieved on May 16, 1956, and May 13, 1979. Finally, Santa Maria, CA, shattered its monthly record with a high of 105F on May 15 (previously, 101F on May 13, 1927). In stark contrast, cold air settled across the Plains, Midwest, and Intermountain West. On May 13, daily record lows in Idaho included 23F in Pocatello and 25F in Idaho Falls. On the same date, record-setting lows in Wyoming dipped to 10F in Laramie and 17F in Rawlins. In Nebraska, Alliance posted consecutive daily-record lows (25 and 22F, respectively) on May 14-15. Other record-breaking lows on May 15 included 23°F in Aberdeen, SD, and 24F in Bismarck, ND. Norfolk, NE (29, 28, and 31F), and Sioux City, IA (32, 28, and 30F), closed the week with three consecutive freezes from May 15-
17. In South Dakota, Sioux Falls’ latest reading below 24F had occurred on May 12, 1946; that record was broken with a low of 23F on May 16. On May 17 in Nebraska, Hastings (32F) experienced its latest freeze since May 29, 1947, while Grand Island (32F) observed it latest freeze since May 22, 1963. Frosty conditions were noted much farther south and east; daily-record lows were set on May 17 in locations such as Concordia, KS (33F), and Quincy, IL (35F). Heavy precipitation preceded and accompanied the surge of cold air.
Cheyenne, WY, received a foot of snow on May 11-12. Most of Cheyenne’s snow, 10.5 inches, fell on May 11. Elsewhere on May 11, daily record snowfall amounts included 5.0 inches in Scottsbluff, NE, and 3.6 inches in Great Falls, MT. On the same date, record setting precipitation amount for May 11 climbed to 2.96 inches in Lincoln, NE; 2.42 inches in Jacksonville, FL; 1.54 inches in Moab, UT; 1.47 inches in Scottsbluff; 1.45 inches in Dodge City, KS; and 1.22 inches in Cheyenne. The following day, record-setting rainfall amounts for May 12 totaled 4.10 inches in Lufkin, TX; 1.53 inches in Ottumwa, IA; and 1.19 inches in Flint, MI. Flint’s 4-day (May 12-15) rainfall reached 3.32 inches. As the week progressed, heavy rain continued but shifted eastward. On May 13, Houston, TX (3.44 inches), and El Dorado, AR (2.19 inches), collected daily-record totals. May 14 featured record setting amounts in locations such as Lexington, KY (2.09 inches), and Fort Wayne, IN (1.41 inches). Rain intensified across the East on May 15-16. Daily record totals topped 3 inches in several locations, including Lynchburg, VA (3.12 inches on May 15); MT. Pocono, PA (3.09 inches on May 16); and Norfolk, VA (3.01 inches on May 16). Marquette, MI, received 3.6 inches of snow on May 15-16, while Rockford, IL (a trace on May 16), observed its second-latest snowflakes behind May 24, 1925.
18th-24…Heavy precipitation (locally 2 to 4 inches or more) developed toward week’s end across the drought-stricken southern Plains. The rain fell too late to benefit the southern Plains’ winter wheat, but aided rangeland, pastures, and a variety of summer crops. Showers also fell across the central Plains, with some of the heaviest rain (at least 1 to 2 inches) falling in eastern Kansas. Rainfall was uneven, however, with significant precipitation bypassing southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado. Weekly temperatures averaged 3 to 6F above normal in the northern Plains. Warm and dry weather in the Northwest contrasted with a period of cool conditions in the Southwest. Western precipitation was mostly isolated and related to the development of a storm system that later produced the heavy showers across the nation’s mid-section. From May 22-26, rainfall accounted for at least 50 to 90 percent of the year to date precipitation totals at numerous locations on the southern Plains. In Texas, Lubbock’s 5 day total of 5.23 inches accounted for 85 percent of the January 1 – May 26 sum. Lubbock also
received more precipitation from May 22-26 than during the preceding 300 days only 5.05 inches fell from July 26, 2013 – May 21, 2014. Five day rainfall reached 4.45 inches in Roswell, NM; 3.82 inches in Childress, TX; and 1.78 inches in Guymon, OK, accounting for 92, 61, and 62 percent of the respective year to date totals. Rain began a day earlier, on
May 21, in parts of northern Texas , where Amarillo’s May 21-26 sum of 3.55 inches represented 75 percent of the year to date total. Most (4.44 inches) of Roswell’s rain fell on May 24, resulting in the wettest day on record in that location (previously, 4.34 inches on July 13, 1991). Back in Texas, San Angelo’s storm-total rainfall of 7.42 inches was compressed into 4 days, from May 23-26. Nearly 90 percent of San Angelo’s year to date precipitation (7.42 of 8.27 inches) fell during that 4-day span. Earlier in the week, locally heavy showers had dotted the Pacific Northwest. In Oregon, Portland (1.06 inches) received a daily-record amount for May 18. Three days later, record-setting totals for May 21 reached 1.75 inches in Dayton, OH, and 1.37 inches in Flint, MI. As the late-week storm began to evolve, Palmdale, CA, collected a daily record sum (0.96 inch) on May 22—the highest daily amount in that location since February 28. Toward week’s end, heavy showers also affected the northern and central Plains. Daily record amounts on May 23 such as 2.96 inches in Jamestown, ND, and 2.90 inches in Salina, KS, were followed by record-setting totals for May 24 in Dickinson, ND (2.67 inches), and Chanute, KS (2.39 inches). Early in the week, chilly weather lingered in the East. On May 18, daily record lows were tied in locations such as Huntington, WV (36F), and Gainesville, FL (49F). Farther west, however, temperatures soared in advance of a developing storm. On May 19 in Kansas, daily record highs included 102F in Russell and 100F in Garden City. Elsewhere in Kansas, Medicine Lodge posted a daily record high of 100F on May 20. In Texas, record setting highs reached 103F (on May 20) in Childress and 101F (on May 19) in Borger. During the second half of the week, heat spread into the Southeast. On May 23, highs climbed to daily record levels in Charleston, SC (97F), and Apalachicola, FL (94F). Elsewhere in Florida, Ft. Myers logged a daily record high of 95F on May 24. Warmth also arrived across the northern Plains, where Fargo, ND, attained a daily record high of 90F on May 24.
25th-31st…Heavy rain associated with a slow moving storm shifted eastward across the South. Rain was especially heavy from central and eastern Texas to western Florida, with many locations reporting at least 4 to 8 inches. While rain fell across the South, most of the remainder of the country experienced several days of warm, mostly dry weather. Meanwhile, showers ended early in the week across the southern Plains, where rain aided pastures, and summer crops but failed to significantly dent precipitation deficits that have been accumulating since October 2010. Farther north, warm, occasionally showery weather was reported across the northern Plains and the upper Midwest. Elsewhere, cool air settled into the Northeast, while warmth was in the Southeast. In fact, late spring warmth covered most of the country. Weekly temperatures averaged at least 10F above normal at numerous locations stretching from the Southwest into the upper Midwest. As the week began, heavy rainfall persisted across portions of the nation’s mid-section. From May 22-26, rainfall accounted for at least 50 to 90 percent of the year to date precipitation totals at numerous locations in the southern Plains. During the last 5 days of the month, 9.21 inches soaked Lafayette. Meanwhile, locally heavy showers also arrived in the East and Midwest. Early in the week warmth prevailed north and east of a slow moving disturbance. Apalachicola, FL, collected a daily record high of 91F on May 25, followed by a record-setting high of 85F in Duluth, MN, on May 26. Warmth lingered for several days across the North and East, resulting in record setting highs in locations such as New Bern, NC (93F on May 28), and Wallops Island, VA (90F on May 27). Meanwhile, hot conditions also developed in parts the West. In Wyoming, daily record highs on May 28 reached 96F in Greybull and 94F in Worland. By week’s end, heat returned to the Desert Southwest, where El Paso, TX, posted a daily record high of 102F. In contrast, cool air settled into
the Northwest, resulting in consecutive daily record lows (23 and 26F, respectively) in
Burns, OR. In Montana, Livingston noted a daily record low of 32F on May 30.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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