I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m ready to get off the weather roller coaster that was speeding along during the month of May.
Walking through last month’s minefield of weather events was nearly too much for the imagination. Think about the measurable snow in the high elevations, hail bouncing on the boardwalk at Ocean City and numerous other places, damaging winds, frost and freezing temperatures and then in the blink of an eye the temperature races to near 90 degrees.
Then came Memorial Day weekend — which started with a deluge of rain totaling 1.10 inches — a cloudy, wet Saturday, a not so great Sunday and finally the sun and warmer temperatures returned for Memorial Day. If you were camping, swimming or just hitting the road for a short trip, and remained within a couple hundred miles of home, the weekend, which we all were hoping to be sunny, hot and in the 80s never materialized.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph) are expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.
The Atlantic season extends from June 1 through Nov. 30. Last month, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near- or below average relative to the latest climate record.
Based on this update average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. The following is a list of names designated for the 2021 season. Ana was the first storm to be named in May and she will be followed by Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Katie, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.
Precipitation for May totaled 3.25 inches, which is .77 inches below the average of 4.02. Heavy rains came late in the month with over an inch falling but not enough to make average. The city went 13 days with only .06 inches of rain falling and that didn’t help to bolster our precipitation.
May was the fourth out of five months that has failed to be average or better. The maximum temperature for May was a sizzling 90 degrees while the minimum came in at a chilly 31 degrees.
The average maximum temperature was 72.5 degrees and the average minimum was 47.2 degrees. The temperature profile for the month looked like this, one 90-degree day, nine days were in the 80s, six days remained in 70-degree range, 11 days remained in the 60s and four days failed to get out of the 50s. Fog was noted eight times during the month and oddly enough thunder was recorded just one time.
Other than being cold and dreary with a dash of summer temperatures threw in for good measure, May was a tranquil month.
The latest forecast from the Climate Prediction Center indicates temperatures for the month of June should average above normal. Precipitation is currently forecast to be slightly above normal. The 90-day outlook for June, July and August calls for temperatures to continue above average while precipitation is also expected to be above average. Could the precipitation being above average have anything to do with another active tropical season? Only time will tell.
The last 15 months has been rough on everybody and maybe this summer we can all get back to some kind of normal and have the opportunity to go on vacation once again.
Our plans are made and we have secured a beautiful place to stay at the beach and it won’t be long until the beach mode kicks in and we’ll be ready to load up and get on the road.
Whatever your plans are, be sure and pack your weather radio so you can stay up to date with any changing or severe weather. Until next month, relax and enjoy!! Weatherwise will return in July.
Tim Thomas is a graduate of Fort Hill High School and has been affiliated with the National Weather Service since 1965.