NOAA Spring Climate Statistics

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[From NOAA and NOAA NCEI]

Meteorological spring (March to May 2022)

The average temperature for the contiguous United States during the weather spring was 52.2 degrees F (1.3 degrees F above average), which ranks in the warmest third on record. Temperatures were above average from California to the Deep South and generally from the Mississippi River to the East Coast. Rhode Island ranked fourth hottest while nine other states – Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas – ranked among their top ten springs the hottest ever recorded. Temperatures were below average from the Pacific Northwest to the Upper Midwest.

The spring precipitation total of 8.07 inches (0.13 inches above average) put it in the middle third of the record. Rainfall has been above average in parts of the Northwest, Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Central Plains, along parts of the central and eastern Gulf Coast, and in parts of the Northeast for the season. Rainfall from March to May was below average from California to the High Plains and the western Gulf Coast. North Dakota ranked fourth wettest while New Mexico ranked as the sixth driest spring season.

Year to date

The average temperature in the United States for the year to date (YTD, January to May) was 44.3 degrees F, 1.0 degrees F above average, ranking in the warmest third of the record. Temperatures were above average from California to Texas and from the central Gulf Coast to New England. California ranked eighth hottest on record for this period. Temperatures were below average in parts of the Northwest and from the northern Plains to parts of the Midwest.

The first five months of 2022 were also quite dry, with a total rainfall of 11.48 inches, 0.91 inches below average, and ranking in the driest third on record. Precipitation was above average from the northern Plains to the Great Lakes and from the central Mississippi Valley to the northeast. Rainfall was below average over much of the west and deep south, as well as parts of the central plains during the January-May period. California saw its driest YTD ever while Nevada, Utah and Arizona ranked third driest for this five-month period. Meanwhile, North Dakota experienced its fourth wettest January-May.

Other notable highlights from the report

Forest fires roared across the landscape: As of May 31, the largest fire in New Mexico history, the Hermits Peak Fire, had consumed more than 315,000 acres and was 50% contained. Across all 50 states, 1.9 million acres burned from Jan. 1 to June 2, more than double the average for this time of year.

The drought has generally improved, with a few exceptions: According to May 31 US Drought Reportoffsite link, 49.3% of the contiguous United States was in drought, down about 4.5% from the start of May. The Pacific Northwest, northern Rocky Mountains, and High Plains regions saw dry conditions improve during May, while drought intensified or spread in the southwest, the west and parts of the northeast.

A stormy month of May with fewer tornadoes: Several rounds of severe weather hit the United States in May, producing 196 preliminary tornado reports. This is 71% of the 1991-2010 average for May tornadoes (276). On May 4, severe storms developed across the Central Plains and produced several tornadoes, including an EF3 tornado near Lockett, Texas. A line of severe storms, also known as a derecho, moved across the Central Plains in the Upper Midwest on May 12, causing extensive damage from at least 13 tornadoes and straight-line winds.

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