Delaware Experiences Very Warm and Wet Conditions in May 2018

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Figure 1. National daily mean temperature anomalies for May
2018 (from the PRISM Climate Group, OSU).
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Figure 2. Delaware statewide mean May temperature (°F) 1895-2018. Light gray line indicates 1981-2010 normal.
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Figure 3. Delaware statewide May precipitation (inches) 1895-2018. Light gray line indicates 1981-2010 normal.

May Temperatures

Nearly the entire United States experienced warmer than normal conditions during May 2018, with some locations in the Midwest seeing temperatures 7°F to 10°F above normal (Figure 1). For Delaware, preliminary data indicates that the statewide average temperature in May was 67.8°F, which is 5.1°F above the 1981-2010 mean value of 62.7°F (Figure 2). This made May 2018 the fourth warmest on record since 1895. In addition, May 2018 was 16.7°F warmer than May, signaling an abrupt transition from the cold to warm season.

May Precipitation

Delaware’s statewide precipitation for May 2018 of 7.18 inches was the fourth wettest since records began in 1895 (Figure 3). This May’s precipitation total was 3.32 inches above average for the month. The first five months of 2018 have been the 13th wettest since records began in 1895, with a total precipitation anomaly of nearly 5 inches for the year.

Statewide Spatial Averages

Data from the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS) show that temperature departures were above normal across the entire State (Figure 4), with several stations recording anomalies of greater than 5o F. Precipitation anomalies were above normal across the entire State as well (Figure 5), with the largest anomalies found across southern Kent and Sussex Counties.

May 2018 average temperature departures (°F) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
Figure 4. May 2018 average temperature departures (°F) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
May 2018 precipitation departures (inches) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
Figure 5. May 2018 precipitation departures (inches) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
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