The Alabama Climate Report

Brought to you by the Office of the Alabama

Volume 10, Number 2 - May 2019

For most of the state, May gave us two seasons of weather.  We were relatively wet and cool in the first half, then very hot and dry in the second.  The Memorial Day weekend was a scorcher with temperatures above 90°F from one end of the state to the other.  In fact, four stations led by Open Pond near Andalusia hitting 102°F exceeded 100°F.  There have been entire years when no station in Alabama reached triple digits, but 2019 did so before the official summer months began. 

Overall, the average temperature was 74.3°F, 3.6F above normal and the 7th warmest May of the last 125.  Despite two warm Mays in a row, the 125-year temperature trend is still slightly downward.  The average daytime maximum was 86.1°F, or +3.1°F warmer than average, while the nights came in at 62.4°F or +4.1°F above the norm.  That the night temperatures are warming more (cooling less) than the daytime temperatures is a well-studied feature of weather across the country.  It appears that we humans have built infrastructure around our weather stations which cause the temperature to stay warmer at night than it would otherwise.

Monthly rainfall was almost average, with 3.58” falling on the state, being only -0.66” below the mean.  Walnut Hill (NE of Montgomery) recorded the most for the state with 7.74” falling in the raingauge there.  The most in one day, according to NOAA, pounded Russellville when 3.70” dropped out of the sky on the 12th. 

I’m frequently asked about long-range forecasts. “What kind of summer are we going to have?” is a common question. While there is some skill for the winter time, predictions of summer temperature and especially rainfall are still beyond our reach now.  Generally speaking, because our rainfall is so random this time of year, we will have some areas which will be much wetter than average and others much drier.  What-falls-where is anybody’s guess at this point … but you can be sure the variability will be high.

Alabama is served by four National Weather Service Offices: Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile with the six southeastern counties watched by Tallahassee FL.  There is a wealth of information provided each month on their local NWS websites and readers here should check them out.

- John Christy
The Alabama State Climatologist