Jun 6, 2018

The heat is back on high: May smashes US temperature records

Arizona
USA
by
Seth Borenstein
,
AP News
Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Record heat returned to the United States with a vengeance in May.

May warmed to a record average 65.4 degrees in the Lower 48 states, breaking the high of 64.7 set in 1934, according to federal weather figures released Wednesday. May was 5.2 degrees above the 20th century’s average for the month.

Weather stations in the nation broke or tied nearly 8,600 daily heat records in May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported. It hit 100 in Minneapolis on May 28, the earliest the city has seen triple digits.

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It was especially warm at night in the U.S during May. The overnight low temperature averaged 52.5 degrees nationwide. That broke the record by 2 degrees which “is unheard of” at this time of year, he said.

Partly to blame is the overall warming trend from man-made climate change, Crouch said. April was cool because the jet stream brought polar air south, but it shifted out of that pattern in May. Then, a tropical system and subtropical storm Alberto brought warm moisture to the eastern part of the country, while the West was quite dry. That allowed temperatures to heat up.

“Nature is dealing cards from a very different deck now compared to the 20th century,” Pennsylvania State University climate scientist David Titley said in an email.