UPDATE: May finished with an average temp of 58.7º, coming in +0.8º compared to climo in Boston. How about the whole season of Meteorological Spring? (March/April/May) It tied for the 50th coldest in Boston, and tied for the 19th coldest in Worcester. The higher elevations definitely took the brunt of the springtime chill – as March was brutally cold and temps stuck just near average for April/May.
Fun facts from our friends at NWS Taunton – The coolest springtime mean avg temp for Boston was back in 1888, with an average of 42.6º. For Worcester it’s 1967 with a disgustingly cold average temp of 39.8º
According to the reaction from my earlier blog on how this spring really hasn’t been THAT bad, it *has* been THAT bad. The court of public decision rules! Talking with friends and colleagues, I am assured that this May was terrible due to reasons ranging from ‘it was so cloudy’ to ‘my pool isn’t warm enough’ to ‘it’s been raining all the time’ to ‘my tomatoes aren’t tall yet’ to ‘observations and measurements aren’t worth anything…I remember it was always nicer than this!’
In short, even if there is no doubt that it’s been a pretty typical May so far as 100+ years of records go, no one’s going to believe it anyway. My favorite answer from colleague Kate Merrill was “Just let us complain. It’s what we like to do around here!” Haha – well so be it. Perhaps novels will be written on the miserable spring which plagued New England after an epic winter that was the worst in recent memory (it wasn’t). In any case, here are the numbers on this month to further incense the general population.
Temperature anomalies across North America to date this May. Source: WeatherBell
Coming into this final day, the month is running about 1.1º above average. It’ll be our first month to finish above average since October of 2013! Making some progress, I suppose. And if you look across the country, the I-95 corridor is one of the few places east of the West Coast that’s been above average this month. The west has been scorching and setting records. I’ll give all the haters this though – I would concede that our May has been cloudier than most. That’s probably a big reason why people have been thinking so negatively of it. We had 8 overcast days in the Boston area. That’s held back some gardens and some tan lines. Plus – there has been a very noticeable lack of humidity this May. The evenings and nights have very rarely felt mild, as if summer is around the corner.
How about precipitation? Well the clouds didn’t help perception, but it was actually a slightly dry May for us. We ended up just a shade below average for rain in Boston, with the final figures after midnight tonight. Only 2 days featured over 0.5″ of rain.
Okay…so surely this must be the coldest May in a long time right? I mean if it had been chilly during the 5th month of the year anytime in recent years, we’d remember it. Wellllll….to the archives we go.
Turns out 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, AND 2008 were all colder than this May. Every one of them. And this May is going to end up just a couple of tenths of a degree colder than last May. This begs the question – why does everyone feel this was such a bad month? It certainly seems that March was a big psychological blow, even by New England standards. I think that March, which was so extremely cold and at what’s supposed to be the tail end of winter, left us all with a really bitter taste in our mouths. The expectations for spring were very high, even if a little unreasonably so.
Shown is the mother of all awful Mays, and it happened in 2005. Not even as far back as the year the Sox broke the curse! After looking at these numbers, I’m fairly certain that if we had a repeat this year – it would have been a full-on riot in the streets. A whopping 19 (19!!) days never got out of the 40s or 50s. This May, we had 5 such days. There were also a couple of coastal storms, numerous gusts over 50mph over Nantucket, and general malaise everywhere you looked. I know I’m obnoxiously optimistic, but even I would be sending Mother Nature hate mail after a May like that.
Anyhoo….regardless of how you feel about it, it’s just about over. Today is one more very cool one, which is fitting. Once we head into June things are looking up. Many will be well into the 70s on Sunday, with some 80s coming on Monday. At the moment most of the Tuesday-Friday time frame looks like 60s and 70s. We’re 3 weeks away from the start of summer. Averages continue to climb, the sun angle continues to get higher in the sky, schools let out, and vacations begin. Looking forward to it.