May was a busy month in terms of rainfall and severe weather. It also illustrated the value of 30-day forecasts: Not much. To be fair, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) must produce long-range forecasts for the month ahead, three months ahead and so forth, so it has no choice. The CPC forecast warmer-than-normal temperatures and lower-than-normal rainfall for May. The fact is, no one has much success with long-range forecasts for March, April or May in North Texas.
Our warmest temperature in May was 95 on May 4th. Our coolest low temperature was 45 degrees, a few days later on May 9th. Our average high was 84 and our average low was 61, giving us a monthly day-night average temperature of 72, which was about one degree cooler than normal for May.
May’s average temperatures were reduced by frequent rains and storms. We received .12” on the 4th (the day we reached 95), .19″ on the 7th and 8th, 4.01″ from May 14th through the 17th, and another 2.62″ from the 21st through the 26th, encompassing the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Total rainfall for May was 7.06″ which was 2.55″ above normal. So far this year, Denton Enterprise Airport has received 24.46 inches of rain, about 5 inches above normal.
Severe weather struck in or near Denton County at least six times during the month. On May 4th, golf ball hail was reported upstream in Muenster and Sanger, along with 55 mph winds. Another severe storm on May 7th, barely died out before reaching Denton County. Gusty thunderstorm winds of 55 mph were reported near Denton on May 15th, but no damage was reported. To the east, a small tornado touched down May 16th near New Boston in Bowie County. On May 22nd, the City of Bowie in Montague County was heavily damaged by a small tornado, downburst winds and large hail. And on May 24th, golf ball hail was reported on the UNT campus and several locations just northeast of downtown Denton.
The rainy, stormy weather near the end of the month was caused by an upper level storm system that tracked slowly from Oregon, down through the Rockies, into the Texas panhandle, then eastward across Oklahoma, finally moving away from north Texas on the 28th.
For what it’s worth, the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting slightly warmer-than-normal temperatures and near average rainfall during June. June marks the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. The first couple months of the hurricane season tend to develop tropical storms and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Caribbean and the Atlantic. And any tropical system that develops in the Gulf can conceivably reach North Texas. Considering we still have water in the flood plains of the Elm Fork of the Trinity, flooding is something we’ll have to watch for in the next month.