Cold April, warmest May on record
Wondering what happened to spring this year? The National Weather Service office in Paducah is too.
Despite temperatures averaging near normal across the region for the season, this spring was anything but normal when you look at the individual months in Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky.
March was the only month that was anywhere near what you would typically expect, with temperatures averaging slightly below normal.
As the region progressed into April, many of the days felt like we were still in March.
In fact, it was one of the coldest Aprils on record across the area, with some locations experiencing their coldest April on record.
The region even had measurable snow in April for the first time since 1983 in several communities.
Then May 1 came, and temperatures suddenly warmed up quite abruptly.
A flip in the weather pattern resulted in above normal temperatures occurring on every single day of the month of May.
The end result was one of the warmest Mays on record across the region.
Paducah was one of many cities that experienced their warmest May on record. It literally felt more like you would expect in June.
“So essentially we flipped the switch and went straight from March to June, skipping April and May and all the nice mild weather that typically occurs in those months,” the weather service shared on its website.
As for precipitation, it was generally a wet spring for a large portion of the region.
This was particularly the case from Perry and Jackson counties in Southern Illinois, southeastward into the Jackson Purchase area of Western Kentucky.
There were some locations that were drier than normal, including across much of the Missouri Ozark counties (Carter, Ripley, Wayne) and up along the Interstate 64 corridor in Illinois.
Portions of Wayne and Jefferson counties in Southern Illinois observed less than 10 inches for the season, compared to many locations observing 14 to 17 inches.
Seasonal snowfall was generally above normal across the region. Many locations even observed measurable snow in April for the first time since 1983, including Paducah.
May: Temperatures Well Above Normal
During May, temperatures were well above normal, ranging from 7 to 8 degrees above normal across the region.
Paducah observed its warmest May on record, shattering the previous record set back in 1962.
Around a dozen other locations across the region also observed their warmest May on record.
Cape Girardeau had its second warmest May on record, behind 1962.
Temperatures were more reminiscent of June, with high readings consistently in the mid-80s to around 90 degrees.
In fact, there have been 32 Junes dating back to 1938 that have been colder than May was in Paducah.
After a chilly April that felt more like March at times, the switch was flipped on May 1 with all official climate stations registering above normal temperatures every single day of May.
Looking back at previous months, it appears the last time Paducah experienced a month in which every day was above normal was back in August 2007.
As for rainfall, it varied quite a bit across the region due to the nature of warm season precipitation.
Some locations would get dumped on while a couple miles down the road observed very little from an individual shower or storm.
Generally though, more areas experienced wetter than normal conditions for May.
This was especially true across large sections of Western Kentucky and into Southern Illinois along and south of Route 13.
Portions of Southeast Missouri and up along the I-64 corridor in Illinois were drier than normal.
Parts of Jefferson and Wayne Counties in Illinois picked up less than 3 inches for the month, while many locations across the region observed 5 to 8 inches.
May is typically an active severe weather month in our region, but this year it was fairly quiet.
There were several days when scattered thunderstorms resulted in a few large hail or damaging wind reports.
However, the only really active day came on the last day of the month.
Several rounds of storms impacted the region on May 31, with the first causing widespread damaging winds as a line of storms moved through areas of Southern Illinois along and north of Route 13 during the morning and early afternoon hours.
Several more waves of storms during the afternoon and evening hours were accompanied by large hail, damaging winds, flooding and a few tornadoes.
The remnants of tropical storm Alberto impacted the region as well May 28-30, a rare occurrence for so early in the season.
Record warm low temperature of 67 degrees set on May 3.
Record high temp-erature of 88 tied on May 9.
Record high temp-erature of 88 tied on May 11.
Record high temp-erature of 91 set on May 13.
Record high temp-erature of 92 set on May 14.
Record warm low temperature of 71 set on May 27.
Warmest May on record, with an average temperature of 75.4, shattering the record of 73.8 set in 1962.
Record daily rainfall of 1.26 inches set on May 29.
Second warmest May on record, behind May 1962.
Among the locations in the region which observed their warmest May on record in 2018 were:
Rosiclare: Average temperature, 70.6. Previous record, 69.9 in 1991. Period of record: 1968-2018.
Paducah: Average temperature, 75.4. Previous record, 73.8 in 1962. Period of record: 1938-2018.
Jackson, Mo.: Average temperature, 73.8. Previous record, 73.7 in 1962. Period of record: 1901-2018.
Poplar Bluff, Mo.: Average temperature, 75.1. Previous record, 75.0. Period of record, 1893-2018.
(Source: Website, National Weather Service office, Paducah.)