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Dry and calm weather prevailed in May

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May weather continued our trend of drying out and warming up across North Texas. 

As the month came to an end, Denton had received just over 2.2” of rain.  Normal rainfall for May, historically our wettest month of the year is about 5 inches, often more, with several severe weather outbreaks. 

Rain fell on May 3rd and 4th (.22”), 9th (.03”), 12th (.49”), and May 14th (1.47”). 

Officially, DFW Airport has received even less rain than Denton, only .86” as Memorial weekend approached.   

On two of our four rain events, cold fronts came through on May 9 and May 14, dropping our highs into the 60’s to near 70.  Our coolest low occurred early May 5th when we dropped to the upper 40’s.  With average highs of about 85 and average lows about 65, we are running about 2 degrees warmer than normal (83/63) than our historic averages for May.   

Frequent wind gusts in excess of 30 mph, typical during March and April, finally began to subside during the last half of May. 

Our overall weather pattern is changing significantly because two factors are in play at the same time.  The seasonal Northwest-to-Southeast Polar jet stream has relaxed and shifted North, and the warm ocean temperatures of the El Nino in the Pacific have virtually disappeared.  These changes stacked on top of each other have suppressed much of our expected severe weather and precipitation. 

Scattered wind and hail damage was reported to shingles and fences in a few areas of Denton County during a couple routine storm outbreaks during the first half of May, but most serious weather threats were across the Red River into Oklahoma. 

Our current pattern shows a persistent trough in the Subtropical Pacific jet stream over California, a ridge that runs up through the eastern Rockies into the Northern Plains states, then back down toward the Southeastern U.S.  This so-called Omega pattern tends to give us more settled weather in North Texas, while focusing repeated storms on West Texas and the Midwest. 

The longer-range weather indicators favor slightly-below-normal temperatures and slightly-above-normal precipitation during June.  With no external factors such as El Nino to influence our weather, the only abnormal factor we have right now is slightly higher moisture content in soils over North and especially Northwest Texas. 

Soil moisture tends to hold temperatures in check and provides humidity for spotty morning showers and scattered afternoon storms.  That’s why our June forecast is barely tilting toward wetter and cooler than normal. 

Bottom line: We probably have not seen the end of our severe weather season this spring in North Texas.  I expect more outbreaks of strong storms approaching us from Northwest Texas during June. 

Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday and please remember to honor all those who have served, suffered and died in the armed defense of Liberty for the United States and most of the world. 

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820 AM/96.7 FM. Follow him online at www.WBAP.com and www.bradsweather.com.

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About The Author

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 "The Wolf." Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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