Spring arrived and brought along with it a very warm May
By Brad Spakowitz
After dragging its heels all through April, spring finally arrived to stay in May.
The early days of the month were still chilly with scattered frost on the morning of May 4 – the last frost threat here, a few days before the average last frost date of May 9.
A few days later, the first weekend of the month brought mild and dry weather for the opening of fishing season and Mother’s Day. However, the dry conditions brought an elevated fire risk to much of the state.
It was followed by a strong south wind and warmer temps, which reached all the way to 75 degrees in the afternoon of May 9, marking the turning point in our weather, when our lasting spring finally took hold.
The following day was downright hot and humid, peaking at 86 degrees, tying a long-standing record for the date (May 10, 1896).
The surge of warmth awakened plants, some growing noticeably that day, and brought the first frog songs of the season that evening.
But the warmth also brought a tornado watch, the first of the year, and a reminder that the severe weather season has arrived and is here to stay until autumn.
Fortunately, no severe weather occurred this time in Northeast Wisconsin, with all of it passing to the north.
In came the heat
After a one-day reprieve, the heat returned with a vengeance, delivering a record-breaking 94 degrees the afternoon of May 12, followed by more scattered thunderstorms, some severe with torrential downpours bringing as much as seven inches of rain across portions of Oconto and Marinette Counties, flooding and washing out some roads.
Record heat returned the next day (May 13) with an afternoon high of 92 degrees, and a few more unusually warm, but not record warm, days to follow, leaving many left wondering if we had totally skipped spring and went right into summer.
By now we were midway through the month, and it was getting very dry, as much of the rain was missing us, with only just over a tenth-of-an-inch logged here so far.
But our dry spell was about to end a few days later when just over one-half inch fell over a three-day period (May 18-20).
Then five days later (May 25), we hit the rain jackpot with an all-day rain bringing 1.31 inches to Green Bay, 1.16 inches in Pulaski, 1.06 inches in Seymour, 1.39 inches in De Pere and 1.41 inches in Howard.
The rain soaked in and didn’t runoff, bringing out worms and nightcrawlers, making easy pickings for robins anxious to feed their babies.
When the month concluded, total rainfall for Green Bay measured 1.99 inches, a deficit of 1.36 inches from the norm.
But temperatures were the big story of the month, coming in at a very warm 4.4 degrees above the 30-year average.
The onset of warmth and the sudden unfolding of the growing season made for some nasty days for allergy sufferers, first mostly tree pollen, but by the end of the month grass and numerous other pollens were present as nearly everything was in bloom.
A look to June
The average high temperature rises from 73 degrees June 1, to 80 degrees by the end of the month – both of which we’ve already seen this month.
The average low climbs from 52 degrees to 59.
June averages 4.1 inches of rain.
The summer solstice occurs at 4:13 a.m. Tuesday, June 21.