May was as cold, wet as you thought it was


David Wilhelms Leader Correspondent

It’s comforting when official numbers confirm what people have already guessed: This May was really colder and wetter than last year.

This May’s temperatures ranged from a few degrees below normal in the northwest part of the Midwest to a few degrees above normal in the southwest, while temperatures in May 2018 were the warmest since 1895 — averaging 66.3 degrees, or 6.9 degrees above normal.

This year across the northern parts of Wisconsin, freezing temperatures were reported through the first three weeks of May. Snow fell in the same area four times in May, while Wisconsin in 2018 ranked among the five warmest Mays ever recorded.

May 2019 precipitation was above normal for the 10th straight month, while May precipitation last year varied across the Midwest with the majority of the region below normal.

Precipitation from March to May this year ranked as the seventh wettest in history for the region and ranked among the wettest 10% in Wisconsin state history.

No surprise here: Drought has been absent from the Midwest throughout 2019. The stretch of 22 weeks is the longest since record keeping started.

Planting was delayed this spring due to very wet conditions, while May 2018 saw planting of corn and soybeans catch up to the five-year average in most of the region. Wisconsin was more than 25% below average in corn and soybeans in planted acres this year.

This information is compiled from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, a cooperative program between the National Centers for Environmental Information and the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign, Illinois. The NCEI is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Midwestern Regional Climate Center serves Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois.