Weather Around The World: Hottest May Ever — And Much More


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Temperature anomalies for May. Red is warmer than normal. Courtesy of NOAA

Temperature anomalies for May. Red is warmer than normal. Courtesy of NOAA

NOAA announced last week that this May was the warmest on record, worldwide. Heat persists in the American southwest; South Dakota set rainfall records, while no rain falls in California.

Then there’s the college baseball championship in Omaha, a major tennis tournament in England, and of course the World Cup in Brazil. Let’s go around the world.

May, 2014 Was The Warmest On Record For Combined Land And Sea Temperature

NOAA has released its worldwide temperature calculations for May: Warmest on record for land and sea temperature combined, primarily due to the contribution of ocean surface temperatures.

Land temperatures were the third highest on record for May.

The monthly departures of the land and sea temperatures from normal have gotten steadily larger since January, and if the expected El Nino materializes, 2014 will probably be the hottest year ever. Maybe it will be hot enough for governments to take notice — and take action.

The Heat Goes On In The Desert — And The Drought, Too

Temperatures routinely surpass 100 degrees in the desert of Arizona, Nevada, and California at this time of year. But the recent heat wave has seen temperatures rise about five degrees above the normal.

More important is the drought, critical in much of California, where some localities may run out of water entirely. The weather pattern still favors dry conditions, with the persistent water temperature anomaly in the Gulf of Alaska reinforcing an omega block in the jet stream which creates a heat bubble over the southwest.

Increasing signs of an imminent El Niño offer some hope of relief, as there is a positive correlation between El Niño and rainfall in the US southwest.

An odd temperature record was kept intact this year, when no rain fell in Fresno, CA on June 21. It is not unusual for Fresno to be dry at this time of year, but June 21 is the only date on which it has NEVER rained in Fresno in 134 years of record-keeping.

Too Wet In The Upper Midwest

If Goldilocks found it too dry in Fresno, she wouldn’t have liked it any better in Omaha, where it was too wet. The same weather pattern that brought tornadoes to the northern plains last week is continuing to produce heavy rain through Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. Flooding has been widespread. This weather pattern is related to the omega block over the eastern Pacific, as the jet stream dips south downstream of the block.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota had broken its June rainfall record by the middle of the month; since then it has surpassed its record for the all-time wettest month, previously May of 1898.

News From The Tropics

The news from the tropics this week is that there is no news. There are no organized tropical systems anywhere in the Atlantic, Pacific, or Indian Oceans.

Wimbledon Starts With Pretty Good Weather

The most venerable tennis event began Monday on the hallowed grass at Wimbledon. Most of the matches were completed, but late play was suspended because of rain. The forecast is for sunny weather the next couple of days, but there is an increasing chance of rain towards the end of the week.

The normal high temperature in London at this time of year is 70. Rainfall averages only about two inches per month — not a lot of rain. But some rain falls about three days per week, so occasional delays in play would not be unexpected.

World Cup — So Far So Good

The World Cup has moved into the third round of Group play. There have been games played in the rain, and quite a few played in stifling heat, but nothing has interrupted the captivating display of athleticism and intense competition. Warmer than normal temperatures are expected this week, which means generally in the 80s in the daytime. Rain could affect play in northern and inland locations.

College World Series

Vanderbilt beat Virginia nine to eight yesterday in a wild first game of the best two-out-of-three College World Series finals in Omaha, NE. Teams have been dodging thunderstorms the past week in the double-elimination preliminaries, but there was no weather trouble last night. Tonight’s game will be played under clear skies with temperatures in the 70s. If a rubber game is necessary on Wednesday, there is a possibility of a shower.

Worldwide Weather Continues To Amuse And Amaze

Whether you’re interested in having a barbecue or watching the World Cup, the weather around the world always has interesting wrinkles. What’s it like where you are?

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