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Old June 20th 18, 08:59 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default May 2018 National Storm Summary


MAY 2018

1-5: In early May, a multi-day severe weather outbreak— accompanied by locally heavy rain—struck portions of the Plains, mid-South, and Midwest. Storm-total rainfall locally reached 2 to 4 inches or more from central Texas into the Great Lakes region. Late in the week, rain and gusty winds swept into the Northeast. Caribou, ME, netted a daily-record precipitation total (0.97 inch) for April 30. Meanwhile in the West, daily-record totals were established in locations such as Riverton, WY (1.04 inches on April 30); Salt Lake City, UT (0.72 inch on April 30); and North Bend, OR (0.75 inch on April 29). During the first 3 days of May, severe thunderstorms spawned as many as four dozen tornadoes, based on preliminary reports, from the central and southern Plains into the Mississippi Valley. Concurrently, locally heavy showers pelted portions of the Plains, Midwest, and mid-South. In Indiana, daily-record rainfall totals included 1.72 inches (on May 2) in South Bend and 1.16 inches (on May 3) in Fort Wayne. From May 1-4, upper Midwestern rainfall totals included 4.16 inches in Ames, IA, and 3.49 inches in Boscobel, WI. By May 4, heavy rain developed in parts of Texas, where daily-record totals reached 3.67 inches in Austin (Camp Mabry) and 1.99 inches in San Angelo. The following day, record-setting rainfall totals for May 5 included 3.15 inches in Louisville, KY, and 1.92 inches in Elkins, WV. More than half (1.83 inches) of Louisville’s rain fell in a 1-hour period, from 3 to 4 pm EDT.

6-12: Frequent showers covered the northern half of the U.S., especially from the northern Rockies to the northern Mid-Atlantic States. Weekly rainfall totaled 1 to 3 inches or more in a strip across the northern Corn Belt causing local flooding. Through May 12, year-to-date precipitation totaled less than an inch, and ranged from 10 to 20 percent of normal, in Plains locations such as Midland, TX (0.32 inch); Garden City, KS (0.78 inch); and Amarillo, TX (0.85 inch). Farther east, early-week rainfall resulted in daily-record totals for May 6 in Norfolk, VA (2.57 inches), and Huntington, WV (1.18 inches). A few days later, heavy rain and locally severe thunderstorms developed across parts of the North. On the night of May 10-11, thunderstorm related wind gusts in Nebraska were clocked to 77 mph in Valentine; 72 mph in Hastings; and 64 mph in North Platte and Grand Island. Record-setting rainfall totals for May 11 included 1.61 inches in Rochester, MN, and 1.40 inches in Great Falls, MT. From May 8-12, rainfall reached 2.33 inches in Rochester, while totals topped 3 inches in Detroit, MI (3.06 inches), and Madison, WI (3.03 inches). Late week showers produced daily-record totals for May 12 in Idaho locations such as Idaho Falls (0.56 inch) and Burley (0.52 inch). On May 11-12, Lander, WY, received a 2-day total of 1.95 inches.

13-19: Showers and thunderstorms dampened all areas of the country, except the Southwest, Pacific Northwest, upper Great Lakes region, and the western Gulf Coast region. Rain was especially heavy leading to local flooding, in the middle and southern Atlantic States, where weekly totals of 2 to 6 inches or more were common. However, the rain largely eradicated any remaining Southeastern drought concerns. Locally heavy showers also dotted the Plains and much of the Corn Belt. Tropical showers arrived early in the week across Florida, where Key West—with 3.25 inches on the 13th—experienced its wettest day in May since May 2, 2013, when 4.14 inches fell. Later, heavy rain associated with a cold front developed across parts of the Plains and Midwest, as well as the Mid-Atlantic States. Record-setting rainfall totals for May 14 included 2.62 inches in Chanute, KS, and 2.26 inches in South Bend, IN. On May 15, one of the week’s most impressive outbreaks of severe weather featured several tornadoes and widespread wind damage in the Northeast, mainly from Pennsylvania into southern New England. Hartford, CT, reported 1.26 inches of rain and a peak wind gust to 55 mph on the 15th. Daily-record totals topped 4 inches in several Eastern locations, including Wilmington, NC (5.52 inches on May 19); Charleston, SC (4.88 inches on May 19); and Salisbury, MD (4.01 inches on May 18). For Wilmington and Salisbury, it was also the wettest May day on record, surpassing 5.02 inches on May 1, 1999, and 3.83 inches on May 20, 2005, respectively. For Charleston, it was the wettest day in May since May 22, 1967, when 6.23 inches fell. Richmond, VA, reported consecutive daily-record totals (2.67 and 3.86 inches, respectively) on May 17-18, and collected a weekly sum of 8.48 inches. Elsewhere, daily-record totals ranged from 2 to 4 inches on May 18 in numerous locations across the central and eastern U.S., including Danville, VA (3.96 inches); Goodland, KS (3.10 inches); Asheville, NC (2.92 inches); and Georgetown, DE (2.38 inches). Late in the week, rain developed across the nation’s northern tier. Record-setting rainfall totals for May 18 reached 1.79 inches in East Rapid City, SD; 1.50 inches in Grass Range, MT; and 1.32 inches in International Falls, MN.

20-26: Widespread totals of 2 to 4 inches or more were noted from the Mississippi Delta to the southern Atlantic Coast. Parts of the northern Plains and Corn Belt also received locally heavy showers, although several pockets across both regions remained unfavorably dry. In particular, significantly below-normal rainfall has been observed in recent weeks in central and southern sections of Illinois and Indiana. Elsewhere, seasonably dry weather in the Desert Southwest contrasted with mid- to late-week showers in the Northwest. In the latter region, warm weather and the aforementioned showers led to a continuation of snow melt-induced flooding in several river basins. . Only Florida’s peninsula, northern New England, and California reported near- to slightly below-normal weekly temperatures. On May 20, Fort Lauderdale, FL, was inundated by 5.27 inches of rain. That marked Fort Lauderdale’s wettest day in May since May 27, 2003, when 10.22 inches fell. The following day, locally heavy Midwestern showers resulted in record setting totals for May 21 in Illinois locations such as Chicago (1..96 inches) and Peoria (1.24 inches). In the Mid-Atlantic States, May 22 featured daily-record amounts in Williamsport, PA (1.90 inches), and Richmond, VA (1.38 inches). By the 26th, Richmond’s month-to-date rainfall had climbed to a May record 10.27 inches (previously, 9.79 inches in May 2016). By mid-week, the focus for heavy rain returned to the Southeast, where daily-record totals for May 23 reached 3.70 inches in Columbus, GA, and 2.94 inches in Jackson, MS. Meanwhile, locally heavy showers also spread across portions of the northern Plains and the Northwest. Daily records were also established on May 23 in Billings, MT (1.54 inches), and Lake Yellowstone, WY (1.15 inches). Additional Northwestern showers on May 25 led to record-setting amounts in locations such as Reno, NV (0.69 inch); Alturas, CA (0.66 inch); and Klamath Falls, OR (0.61 inch). Above Missoula, MT, the Clark Fork River crested 1.38 feet above flood stage on May 27—the highest level in that location since June 2011. In Florida, showers in advance of Alberto’s approach contributed to daily-record totals for May 25 in Key West (3.41 inches) and West Palm Beach (1.14 inches). Key West achieved a May record rainfall, with 13.47 inches reported through the 26th (previously 13.01 inches in 1904). From the Midwestern to the Mid-Atlantic States, another round of showers on May 26 led to daily-record totals in locations such as Wheeling, WV (1.57 inches), and Marquette, MI (1.14 inches).

27-31: Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall on Memorial Day near Panama City, FL, with the remnant circulation moving almost due northward across Lake Huron by May 31. Alberto was part of a broader pool of tropical moisture that resulted in relentless Southeastern showers and contributed to quality concerns for a variety of crops, including hay, fruits, and winter wheat, as well as fieldwork delays. Weekly totals in excess of 4 inches were observed in several locations, leading to flash flooding. Among the more dramatic flash floods was the May 27 inundation of Ellicott City, MD, by the Patapsco River—the second such event in a 2-year period. Impressive and deadly flooding also struck portions of the southern Appalachians. Meanwhile, widespread showers and locally severe thunderstorms dotted the Plains and Midwest. Totals of 1 to 2 inches were common, but little or no rain fell in Texas. Meanwhile, Alberto made landfall on Florida’s Gulf coast, just west of Panama City, around 4 pm CDT on May 28. A wind gust to 59 mph was clocked at Tyndall Air Force Base, east of Panama City. On the day of landfall, heavy rain spread as far north as the Carolinas. Daily record rainfall totals for May 28 in North Carolina included 4.08 inches in Wilmington and 3.34 inches in New Bern. The following day, record-setting totals in Alabama for May 29 reached 2.58 inches in Montgomery and 2.55 inches in Muscle Shoals. As Alberto’s remnant circulation moved toward the Great Lakes region and interacted with a cold front, Ashland, WI, netted a daily-record rainfall (2.46 inches) for May 30. Locally heavy Southeastern showers persisted through month’s end, contributing to record-high May rainfall totals in locations such as Lakeland, FL (19.19 inches); Asheville, NC (14.68 inches); Charleston, SC (10.62 inches); and Richmond, VA (10.35 inches). For Lakeland, it was the second-wettest month on record, behind only 20.07 inches in July 2017. And, it was the wettest month on record in Asheville, surpassing 13.75 inches in August 1940. Elsewhere, daily-record totals topped 2 inches in several locations, including Trenton, NJ (2.79 inches on May 27); Virginia’s Dulles Airport (2.35 inches on May 31); Daytona Beach, FL (2.27 inches on May 30); and Elkins, WV (2.10 inches on June 2). Daily-record amounts exceeded an inch on May 28 in Wyoming locations such as Sheridan (1.44 inches) and Buffalo (1.28 inches), and on May 29 in Evansville, IN (1.70 inches), and Goodland, KS (1.63 inches).

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