Cool and Damp May Summary

May Closed out the Spring Season on a Cool and Damp Note



May 2008 closed out the spring season for the year on a very cool and damp note. Temperatures this month ended up below normal by nearly three degrees. This helped to push the averages for the spring season below normal as well. The following is a summary of the conditions observed this May, 2008 at the Indianapolis International Airport.



The month was characterized by a quite lengthy and persistent string of cool weather, which began on the 8th and ended on the 25th. During this cool period, only one day was above normal, and this was the 17th. The month did end on a much milder note as the 80s finally arrived for the last few days of the month. There were only 3 days of 80 degrees or higher this May, compared to a normal of 9 days. Last year’s May featured 17 days in the 80s.

The average monthly temperature ended up at 59.8 degrees, below normal by 2.8 degrees. This tied this past May wit made it the coolest May since 2002 when the average temperature was also 59.8 degrees. There were no new temperature records for Indianapolis during the month.



May was also a very damp month. Frequent and persistent rain events during the month, which helped to make it a very cool month as well, were noted across Central Indiana. Total rainfall for the month was 5.54 inches, which is above normal by 1.18 inches. This was the most in a May since 2004 when 8.55 inches fell.  The heaviest rainfall totals came on the 14th when 1.11 inches fell at the airport. The 8th brought a deluge of 1.10 inches as well. The last 10 days of the month were drier, until heavy thunderstorms on the 30th deposited another 0.81 inches.  The longest period with no measurable precipitation was only three days in a row, which happened on the 4th through the 6th, and the 24th through 26th. Precipitation fell on 21 of the 31 days this month, with measurable amounts on 16 of those days.


Severe Weather

After it looked like Central Indiana might escape through a second month in a row without severe weather, this was not to be. A powerful storm system ripped through the area on the night of May 30th. Severe thunderstorms produced flash flooding, destructive straight line winds, large hail, and even a few tornadoes. Widespread wind damage and a tornado caused considerable damage to eastern portions  of the city of Indianapolis. The tornado was rated an EF-2 with estimated winds of 125 mph. A second tornado was confirmed in Carroll County, with a rating of EF-0. Straight line winds approaching 100mph also caused excessive damage in counties to the east of the Indianapolis metro area. This was one of the worst severe outbreaks in a few years in Indianapolis, as the 2007 season was relatively quiet. An active pattern at the month’s end and into early June will bring the chance of more severe weather.


The peak wind gust was 52 mph from the west on May 30th. Thunder was observed on 5 days during the month.  Fog was seen on 18 days, with dense fog occurring on the 27th.


June Outlook

The Climate Prediction Center’s official outlook for June 2008 in Central Indiana indicates an enhanced likelihood of above normal rainfall, and a slightly enhanced likelihood of cooler than normal weather across western portions of the area.

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