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May 2019, Cloudy, cool, less than normal rainfall

By Doug Webster - Weather & Climate | Jun 17, 2019

May was filled with clouds, chilly temperatures, lots of days with rain, but with a less than normal rainfall total. May isn’t exactly known for generous sun and warmth but the 2019 edition tested the resolve of those looking for an explosion of spring weather.

Mother Nature threw rapid fire wet weather makers at New England during May but most of these were weak and produced light amounts of rain. This pattern began during mid-April. A big difference from April was that most of the May events produced light, sometimes almost negligible amounts of rain.

Sixteen days saw measurable precipitation during May, 4 more than normal but far below the record of 22 days set in 1983. May 1983 was similar to this year with respect to frequent but small rain totals when rain was observed. The May 1983 rain total of 4.32 inches is but a quarter in above normal.

So why were we covered with clouds and dampness no much? The jet stream flow took a path through the Southwest then turning northeast through the Midwest before taking a right turn toward the northern Mid-Atlantic states.

This pattern drew upon Gulf of Mexico moisture which was deposited in copious amounts through the Plains and Midwest with lesser amounts eastward toward the Northeast Coast. The high frequency of the jet stream crossing near our area combined with easterly winds off the moist Atlantic kept our skies filled with clouds.

Above normal rain totals were noted from southern New England into the Mid-Atlantic states during May. The trough through the West added to the staggering season snowfall totals through the Sierra Nevada range.

719 inches fell at Squaw Valley next to Lake Tahoe this season, second only to 728 inches just 2 years ago. More heavy snows fell through this region during the mid and latter portion of May which I can personally attest to.

Wintry precipitation was noted in our area twice during May. A little bit of sleet fell during the morning of May 1 in Hudson and sleet was mixed with rain during the early evening of May 13. Seeing sleet or snow twice in May is a rare occurrence.

Rainfall for Nashua totaled 3.41 inches, 0.66 inches below normal. May ranks in a tie for 75th driest out of 136 years with precipitation records for Nashua.

Temperatures ended up on the chilly side of normal throughout New England due to the combination of cloudy skies and frequent rainfall. East and southeast winds off the still chilly Atlantic added to the chilly mix.

The average temperature for the Gate City was 56.2 degrees, 0.5 degrees below normal. May tied as the 59th coolest May out of 126 years with temperature records. Some spotty frost was noted early on May 9 in a few of the cold spots around the region.

In case you’re wondering why there is a difference in number of years between precipitation and temperature data. Precipitation data goes unbroken from January 1884 to date. Temperature data began in November 1885 but was not observed from late in 1916 through 1924.

Here are some interesting extremes from other parts of the world during May that you may want to compare to our weather. On May 26 the temperature fell to 110 degrees below zero at Vostok, Antarctica while on May 29 a high reading of 122 degrees was recorded at Mitribah, Kuwait. 50.36 inches of rain fell at Cherripunji, India during May.

Official spring is defined as the months of March, April, and May when we talk about weather and climate. Spring 2019 saw normal temperatures and snowfall, slightly below normal precipitation. March and May saw temperatures below normal but a milder than normal April kept the season at normal.

Spring’s average temperature of 45.8 degrees was right at normal and ranked in a tie at 75th place out of 126 springs with temperature data.

Spring rainfall totaled 11.62 inches, 1.11 inches below normal. March was quite dry while April brought abundant rainfall. May was slightly drier than normal.

Spring 2019 was the 84th driest spring on record for the Gate City out of 136 years with rainfall records. 1983 was the wettest with 20.83 inches.

Snowfall for spring totaled 12.0 inches, 0.5 inches above normal. Spring 2019 was the 48th snowiest spring out of 109 years with snowfall records. All of the snowfall was recorded in March at the Nashua recording station.

June brings us the longest days of the year. By months’ end the days will already be getting shorter. By meteorological definition official summer began on June 1 with June 21 being the beginning of astronomical summer which has nothing at all to do with weather.

Typical for June around southern New Hampshire are a few hot, humid days mixed with days displaying brilliant blue skies and refreshing temperatures and humidity. June 2019 has begun on a similar note as May with cool, sometimes damp, cloudy weather.

May Facts and Feats dating back to 1884

May 2019 Average

Temperature: 56.2

degrees, 0.5 degrees below normal.

Warmest May

1911, 63.4

Coldest May

1967, 49.3

All-time May High

100, May 22, 1911

May 2019 High

86, May 27

All-time May Low

21, May 10, 1947

May 2019 Low

35, May 9

May 2019


3.41 inches, 0.66 inches below normal

Wettest May

2006, 12.68 inches

Driest May

2015, 0.46 inches

2019 Annual


to date

19.64 inches, 0.13 inches above normal

May 2019 Snowfall


Snowiest May

Trace, most recently in 2002


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