Although the first official day of summer is still two weeks away, Georgia’s temperatures are already hot—and getting hotter, according to a monthly weather summary from assistant state climatologist Pam Knox.
Here is what she had to say about the month of May:
Temperatures were above normal everywhere in Georgia for a fourth straight month. In Augusta, the monthly average temperature was 71.9 degrees (1.6 degrees above normal); in Atlanta, 70.9 degrees (1.1 degrees above normal); in Athens 70.4 degrees (1.3 degrees above normal); Columbus 74 degrees (1.7 degrees above normal); Macon 72.3 degrees (1.3 degrees above normal); and Savannah 75 degrees (2.2 degrees above normal).
This spring has been the second warmest in Columbus since 1948, the ninth warmest in Atlanta since 1878, and the tenth warmest in Savannah since 1871, when records began at each location.
Macon reported 96 degrees May 12, breaking the old record of 95 degrees set in 1967. Savannah recorded 99 degrees, breaking the old record of 97 degrees set in 1956. Alma and Columbus broke or tied daily high temperature records on seven and eight days, respectively, during the month.
Precipitation in April was very dry across most of Georgia, with the exception of the northern quarter of the state. The driest areas were the south-central and southwest regions. Most of the rainfall this month came from thunderstorm activity, which is highly variable.
The highest monthly total precipitation from National Weather Service reporting stations was 2.93 inches in Atlanta (1.02 inches below normal). The lowest was in Brunswick at 0.58 inch (2.11 inches below normal). Valdosta received 1.20 inches (2.04 inches below normal), Athens 0.82 inch (3.04 inches above normal), Alma 0.85 inch (2.19 inches below normal), Columbus 0.65 inch (2.97 inches below normal), Macon 0.66 inch (2.32 inches below normal), Savannah 0.77 inch (2.84 inches below normal) and Augusta 2.50 inches (0.45 inch above normal).
It was the ninth driest May in Savannah since records began in 1871, the seventh driest in Athens since 1857, the third driest in Columbus since 1948, and the fifth driest in Macon since 1892. For the spring period of March through May, it was the sixth driest in Columbus since 1948 and the ninth driest in Macon since 1892.
There were no daily rainfall records set in May.
Drought expanded across most of the state by the end of the month. The southern three-quarters of the state was in drought conditions by late May, and over 50 percent was considered to be in extreme drought.
Soil moisture conditions declined, as the lack of rainfall and high temperatures accelerated evapotranspiration and stressed plants. By the end of the month, more than 80 percent of subsurface soil moisture was reported as short to very short.