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Near-Record Warmth of May 2015 Mirrored February's Near-Record Cold

May2015

After the harsh February we experienced (the third coldest on record) you might think New Yorkers would be well aware that May 2015 was unusually warm.  Yet most of my friends seemed surprised when I told them that it was the second warmest on record (after May 1991).  They seemed to think the temperatures we experienced were typical.  Yes, it was normal - for June.  May's average high of 78.4 (nearly eight degrees above average) was only one degree lower than what the average high in June is. 

 

Perhaps they took little notice because there was no excessive heat, i.e., no readings in the 90s.  In fact, among the eleven Mays that have had 11 or more days in the 80s, May 2015 was the only one with no 90-degree readings.  However, there were 18 days with highs of 80° or warmer, a new record, passing May 1991's seventeen.  (A typical May has six such days.)  Conversely, it had the fewest days with highs cooler than 70°, just three (the average is twelve).

 

May 2015 ended up being 0.2 degrees cooler than May 1991.  This was due to the fact that 1991 had five days in the 90s.  (The average high of the days that were in the 80s or warmer this May was 83.8° while the days in the 80s in May 1991 averaged 86.5°.)  However, this did become the May with the mildest average low, 0.1 degree warmer than May 1991.

 

Warm.may

 

Besides the warm temperatures May was also very dry - until the last day of the month.  Through May 30 just 0.40" of rain had fallen, and it appeared this was going to be the first May since 1964 to have less than an inch of rain.  Then strong thunderstorms moved in around 5PM, and 1.46" of flooded the City in just a few hours.   

 

COMPARING THE TWO WARMEST MAYS
(1991 & 2015)
  2015 1991
Average High 78.4 78.9
Average Low 58.6 58.5
Mean Temperature 68.5 68.7
Days of 80+ 18 17
Days of 90+ 0 5
Hottest Temperature 88 93
Lows of 70+ 3 4
Lows in the 40s 3 3
Highs Cooler Than 70 3 7
     

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Cold, Raw Days of Late May

Grayday.newyork

 

A few weeks ago I published a post about warm weather in May.  Most of us are delighted to get an early start to summer, with days that have temperatures in the 80s and 90s, especially because they aren't usually accompanied by the humidity levels common in mid-summer.  Of course, most Mays have a few cool days in store to remind us that we're still transitioning from spring to summer (May 2015, warmest on record, was an exception).  And raw days in the latter part of May are especially cruel, with summer so close at hand.  This post focuses on these late, cold days.

 

Two dates that stand out on the list below are May 26, 1967 and May 27, 1961.  Both had highs only in the 40s, which is what the typical high is in the second week of March.  The high on May 26, 1967 was 46°, twenty-eight degrees below average; May 27, 1961's high of 47° was twenty-seven degrees below average.

 

One characteristic of chilly days in May is that high temperatures are often significantly more below average than low temperatures.  This is due largely to clouds and rain (and east-northeasterly winds).  Although a typical day in May has a 15-degree difference between its high and low, the chilly days listed below show diurnal variations that are often half that range (seven degrees or less).

 

Clipart_drizzle_cloud 

 

CHILLY DAYS IN LATE MAY (SINCE 1915)
(Sorted by Calendar Date)
        Below Average
Date High Low Mean Mean High
5.20.2000 51 46 48.5 -15 -20
5.20.1957 51 45 48.0 -16 -20
5.20.1952 54 50 52.0 -12 -17
5.21.1990 51 47 49.0 -15 -20
5.21.1929 50 45 47.5 -15 -20
5.21.1924 50 47 48.5 -14 -20
5.23.1982 55 51 53.0 -12 -18
5.24.1982 55 50 52.5 -12 -18
5.24.1927 51 49 50.0 -15 -21
5.25.2013 54 45 49.5 -16 -20
5.25.2005 53 48 50.5 -15 -21
5.25.1967 46 42 44.0 -21 -28
5.25.1934 56 49 52.5 -11 -16
5.25.1925 53 41 47.0 -17 -20
5.25.1921 52 47 49.5 -14 -22
5.26.1967 55 42 48.5 -17 -19
5.27.1961 47 41 44.0 -22 -27
5.28.1917 55 49 52.0 -14 -18
5.30.1953 56 50 53.0 -14 -19

 

 

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Warm Weather in May

Weather.central_park_summertime

 

The month of May typically sees six days with highs in the 80s or above, three of 85+ and one reading in the 90s (although it happens in only two out of five years).  Going back one hundred years (to 1915) there have been seven Mays with no 80-degree days (most recently in 2003 and 2005), while May 2015 had the most - eighteen (but no 90-degree readings).  Meanwhile, May 1991, the warmest on record, had the most days in the 90s (five).  However, the hottest readings didn't occur that year: 1962 has that distinction, with a high of 99° on May 19, followed by 97-degree days on May 30, 1969 and May 31, 1987.  And going back to the 1870s, three dates - 5/1, 5/13 and 5/14 - have never had a high in the 90s.

 

 MOST 80-DEGREE DAYS IN MAY
(Since 1915)
         
  80+ 85+ 90+ Hottest
2015 18 10 0 88
1991 17 10 5 93
1944 14 7 1 92
1977 13 4 2 92
2010 12 5 1 92
1965 12 6 4 94
1959 12 8 3 94
2007 11 5 2 91
1986 11 8 3 94
1964 11 5 2 94
1962 11 6 3 99
         
FEWEST 80-DEGREE DAYS IN MAY
         
  80+ 85+ 90+ Hottest
2005 0 0 0 79
2003 0 0 0 79
1983 0 0 0 79
1928 0 0 0 79
1927 0 0 0 79
1924 0 0 0 75
1915 0 0 0 79
1997 1 0 0 83
1968 1 0 0 80
1917 1 0 0 84
         

 

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Comparing Weather Conditions of Summer's Three Big Holidays

Previously, I've published separate posts about weather conditions over the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends and for the 4th of July.  This post compares the three side-by-side, looking at them as single-day holidays (i.e., the Mondays of Memorial Day and Labor Day, and the 4th of July) for each year going back to 1970 (thru 2019).

 

Coney.island.crowded    

 

Because of where they fall on the calendar, you'd expect the 4th of July to be the warmest of the three holidays and Memorial Day the coolest, but that's happened in just one-third of the summers.  (On average, the high on Memorial Day is 75°, on 4th of July it's 84° and 81° on Labor Day.)  Memorial Day has actually been the warmest of the three holidays in five of the years (and tied with 4th of July in two other years) while in eleven years Labor Day was the warmest.  July 4th had the coolest temperature in six years (including 2014 and 2015).

 

YEARS IN WHICH MEMORIAL DAY WAS THE  WARMEST SUMMER HOLIDAY
         
    High Temperature
    Mem Day 4th of July Labor Day
2011   86 86 70
2009   81 79 74
2007   83 71 82
2006   88 87 75
1991   89 82 74
1985   86 86 83
1981   87 75 74
         
         
YEARS IN WHICH  4TH OF JULY WAS COOLEST SUMMER HOLIDAY
         
    Mem Day 4th of July Labor Day
2015   85 75 92
2014   86 74 88
2008   80 78 84
2007   83 71 82
1979   75 71 86
1978   79 62 80
         
     

The summer of 1999 has the distinction of having the warmest three-holiday average temperature, 10 degrees above average, while the summer of 1982 was the coolest, eight degrees below average (with 1992 close behind, at 7.5 degrees below average).

 

WARMEST 3-HOLIDAY AVERAGE TEMPERATURE
       
Summer of 1999      
  High Low Mean
Memorial Day 89 68 78.5
4th of July 96 79 87.5
Labor Day 83 74 78.5
Average 89 74 81.5
       
COOLEST 3-HOLIDAY AVERAGE TEMPERATURE
       
Summer of 1982      
  High Low Mean
Memorial Day 55 50 52.5
4th of July 77 60 68.5
Labor Day 82 60 71
Average 71 57 64
       

 

The holidays during three summers - 1972, 1986 and 2016, had nearly the same high temperatures.  In 1972 the high was 78° on Memorial Day, 79° on 4th of July and 77° on Labor Day, while in 1986 the highs were similar to 1972's, but in a different order (76-77-78).  And 2016's were all in the 80s, with a high of 82° on Memorial Day and 84° on both July 4 and Labor Day.  On the flip side, the greatest variations in high temperatures occurred in the summers of 1974 (55-95-73) and 2003 (56-92-69).

 

In the years covered by this analysis there has never been a summer in which all three holidays had highs in the 90s.  In fact, there has been only one year, 1983, in which two of the three holidays had 90-degree readings (95° on 4th of July, 91° on Labor Day).  Looking at cool temperatures, three summers saw all three holidays fail to reach 80° (1972, 1986 and 2001).

 

Eleven summers (i.e., one out of four) were rain-free across all three holidays.  The last time this happened was in 2010.  Conversely, just two years saw rain on each holiday, in 1979 and 1998.  However, in those years the three days weren't washouts nor was rain significant for each holiday.

 

Labor day weekend
  

 

 

 

 

 

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New York Weather History: May Highlights

FlatironBuilding_SpringtimeHighlights:  Compared to other months, May's weather is relatively tranquil.  It hasn't had a lot of noteworthy weather events, such as tropical storms, cold waves, blizzards or extended heat waves.  Brief hot spells, like those in early May 2000 and 2001 and in late May 1986 and 1987, have been the most notable weather highlights.  May 2015, the second warmest on record, set a record for having 18 days with highs of 80° or warmer.  Finally, ten of the eleven Memorial Days thru 2016 had highs in the 80s.

 

May 1

May 2

May 3

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May 6

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May 9

May 10

May 11

May 12

May 13

May 14

May 15

May 16

May 17

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May 19

May 20

May 21

May 22

May 23

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May 25

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Today in New York Weather History: May 31

 

1885

Today's rainfall of 0.11" brought this spring's total rainfall to 4.95", making it the driest meteorological spring on record (a record that still stands).  And the month of June would continue these dry conditions, with just 1.32" measured. 

1929

Today's high was 93° and was the seventh day in a row in which the high was warmer than the day before: 65° (May 25)-72°-74°-76°-77°-84°-88°-93° (today).

 

Line chart upward 

1940

The biggest rainstorm of the year dumped 3.13" between 1-11 AM (two inches fell between 4-7 AM).  This was also a record for the date (which still stands).

1984

Since May 28, more than five inches of rain fell, helping to make this the rainiest May on record (until May 1989 surpassed it by half an inch, 10.24" vs. 9.74").

 

Clipart_raindrop_with_face

1986

On a sizzling-hot day that saw the temperature reach 93°, a mid-afternoon thunderstorm dumped 0.70" of rain in a 60-minute period between 3:50-4:50 PM.

1987

Just like last year, it was a scorching hot day, with a high/low of 94°/76°.  (But unlike last year, there was no thunderstorm.)

1988

For the third year in a row, the high was in the 90s on this date.  Today's high of 91° was also the first ninety-degree day of the year; thirty-one more would follow in the next eleven weeks (thru Aug. 15).

90s
1989

For the second year in a row, the year's first 70-degree low was on May 31 (the typical date is in early June).  However, this year the afternoon high of 82° was significantly cooler than last year's high.

1991

This was the warmest May on record, 6.7 degrees above average.  From May 11 onward, temperatures were nine degrees warmer than average.  These three weeks had temperatures more comparable to the second half of June.  Ten days had highs of 85° or warmer (and three others had highs of 84°).  And today was no exception, as the high/low of 91°/71° was fourteen degrees hotter than the norm.  This was the fourth time in the past six years that the high on this date was in the 90s.

 

Clipart_summersun

1992

Half of the month's rain fell today as 1.99" of rain fell between 3 AM-7 PM, the biggest rainstorm since August of last year.  The rainy conditions and cloud cover resulted in just a two-degree difference in the day's high (61°) and low (59°).  Although the low was average for the date, the high was fourteen degrees below average.  This was the third day this year to have a two-degree diurnal temperature variation, the most of any year in the 1970-2020 period.   

1993

Like last year, much of the month's meager rainfall (of 1.56") fell today as 0.90" was measured.

1998

High temperatures during the past four days: 85°-84°-85°-84° (today).

2003

This was the coolest May since 1967, and 0.8 degrees cooler than the chilly May of 1997.  Much of the month's 3.40" of rain fell since May 21, including today's 0.59".

 

Clipart_unhappycloud

2005

The warmest temperature in May was 79° and it occurred not only today, but on 5/27 and 5/28 as well.  This was the last year (thru 2021) in which May's warmest reading failed to top 80° (on average, the warmest temperature in May is 88°).

2010

Under sunny skies, it was a summery Memorial Day, with a high/low of 86°/69°, eleven degrees above average.  It was also the fifth year in a row with no rain on the holiday. 

2012

The last day of the month was beautiful, with bright blue skies and warm temperatures (high/low of 79°/66°).  May had fourteen days with morning lows of 60° or warmer, the most since May 1991 (which was the mildest on record).  While May's average high temperature was one degree above average, the average low was four degrees warmer.

 

Clipart_suntapping_onwindow

2015

Today's high of 87° made this the eighteenth day in May with a high of 80° or warmer, a new record for the month (but no days were in the 90s).  It was also the seventh day in a row with a high of 85° or warmer.  During these days, highs averaged 86°, twelve degrees above average.  The month was the second warmest May on record, 0.2 degrees behind May 1991. 

Up until 4 PM it appeared this was going to be the first May since 1964 with less than an inch of rain, but then strong thunderstorms moved in and dumped 1.46" of rain - three times the amount that had fallen in the first 30 days of the month (0.40").  In fact, more rain fell in the 45 minutes between 4:00 and 4:45 (0.93") than had fallen in the previous 40 days. By midnight, the temperature had tumbled to 57°, 30 degrees colder than twelve hours earlier.

2016

Sunny and warm with a high of 85°, the seventh day in a row with temperatures in the 80s.  This was in stark contrast to the first week of May, which was characterized by overcast skies and cool temperatures.  The average high that first week was 57° (12 degrees below average), while the average high during the last week of the month was 87° (13 degrees above average).

2021

Today, Memorial Day, was the fourth day in a row with a low in the 40s, tying May 1884 for the latest streak of this many days.  (However, 1884's streak was chillier: 48°-43°-42°-48° vs. this year's 49°-47°-47°-49°.  

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Today in New York Weather History: May 30

 

1884

It was a chilly Memorial Day, with a record low of 42° (a record that still stands).  And the day's high of 55° was also a record for chilliest high for the date (until 2021).

1967

Today was the tenth day this month with a low of 48°.  While this reading was close to average at the beginning of the month, it was ten degrees cooler than average by this time of the month.  (However, today's high rebounded to 74°, which was average for the date.)

 

48degrees

1973

The 0.18" of rain that fell tonight between 11PM and midnight made this the 19th day with measurable precipitation this month, tying December 1972 for the second greatest number of days on record (the most days occurred in July 1871 and May 1888 - 20).  However, despite this large number of wet days, the month's total precipitation (4.51") was average for May.

 

Clipart_rain

1984

2.19" of rain fell today, the third day in a row in which more than an inch of rain was measured.  Significant rain fell last year on this date as well (1.11").

1987

Today was the hottest day of the year, with a high/low of 97°/74°.  This was the hottest temperature in May since May 29, 1969 when the high was also 97° (that year's  hottest reading as well).  Today's sizzling high was a record for the date, breaking the previous record set just last year (94°).

 

Clipart_hotday2

2003

Today's high of 79° was the warmest temperature of the month and only the second time in twenty-five years that May had no readings of 80° or higher.  (It would happen again in 2005.)

2011

For the sixth year in a row Memorial Day (Monday) had an afternoon high in the 80s.  However, a quick downpour at daybreak was the first rain to fall on this Monday holiday in six years.    

 

Memorial_day

2012

A very small amount of rain fell in the morning (0.01"), making this the eighteenth day in May in which measurable rain fell.  This was the most days of precipitation in May since 1973.  Despite this surplus of rainy days, the month's rainfall wasn't far from average - but it was the first month this year to receive an above average amount (5.38 vs 4.69 inches).  

2013

Today was the first 90-degree day of the year, coming a few days after the average date for this occurrence.

2015

Today was the fifth day of the past six to have a high of 85°.  It was also the 17th day this month to have temperatures in the 80s, tying May 1991 for the May record (the record was broken the next day).  Besides May's warm temperatures, dry conditions also continued as the number of consecutive days in which less than an inch of rain fell (in total) reached 40.  Although a significant number, it was half as many days as the record of 81 days in a row set in the summer of 1999. 

2016

Moisture from tropical storm Bonnie brought bands of heavy rain before 7 AM that amounted to 1.65" (nearly an inch fell between 1 and 2 AM).  This amount made it the second rainiest Memorial Day on record (rainiest was in 1948 when 2.49" fell).  It was more than what fell in the entire month of March (1.17") or April (1.61"), and was the most precipitation to fall in one storm this year since the big blizzard on 1/23 (when 2.37" was measured).  Despite this impressive amount, the area was spared more heavy rain in the afternoon as the storm stayed offshore.  This allowed the sun to break through and the temperature rose into the low 80s, making this the tenth Memorial Day of the last eleven to have a high in the 80s.

 

Tropical storm bonnie 

2019

Today was the 19th day this month with measurable rain in Central Park, tying May 1973 and Dec. 1972 for the second most days of precipitation of any month.  (The most, 20 days, occurred twice in the 19th century - in July 1871 and May 1888).  Like yesterday, which reported 0.80" of rain, much of today's 0.95" poured down during the evening commute.  This month's excessive number of rainy days followed April's 18 days of rainfall (most on record for April); however, May's rainfall was more than two inches greater (6.82" vs. 4.55") and it was more than what fell in July 1871, May 1888, May 1973 and Dec. 1972.

2020

Today and yesterday both had a high/low of 81°/67° (eight degrees above average).  But, whereas yesterday was on the sticky side, with afternoon dew points in the upper 60s, today was noticeably more comfortable, with dew points in the afternoon down into the upper 40s.  And it also had a lot more sunshine.  Yesterday and today were also the first back-to-back days with highs in the 80s, about three weeks later than usual, and the latest since 2013.

 

Back to back

2021

Today’s very cool high/low of 51°/47°  was identical to yesterday’s.  But while yesterday’s high tied for the coolest high on 5/29, today’s high broke the record by four degrees.  These highs were 24 degrees below average (and more typical of the first day of spring).  Today’s and yesterday’s high/low were the chilliest back-to-back days in late May since May 25-26, 1967 (46°/42° and 53°/46°).   (It's worth noting that there was a 3-day cold snap from June 3 to 5 in 1945 that saw highs/lows of  53°/50°, 52°/49°, and 55°/47°.)  

And like yesterday, there were gray skies and rain, with 0.89" falling from sunrise to mid-afternoon.  The 48-hour rainfall total (from two storm systems, beginning late afternoon on 5/28) was 2.57”, which was nearly 50% more than what fell between May 1-27 (1.77”). 

Coincidentally, May 29-30 of last year had the same, but much warmer, high/low:  81°/67°.  This is just the second time that the same dates in  consecutive years had temperature "twins" (the other instance was in 1897 ad 1898 on July 27-28).


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Today in New York Weather History: May 29

 

1968

After starting last night at around 10:00, heavy rain continued thru this morning.  By the time it ended, shortly before 12:00-noon, 4.88" had flooded the City, snarling the Wednesday morning commute.  The 3.99" that fell today set the daily record for the month of May (breaking the previous record of 3.82" on May 9, 1908).

 

Mortons.salt.whenitrainsitpours

1969

Not only did today have the first reading in the 90s of  the year, but, with a high of 97°, it would be the hottest reading all year (there would be highs of 96° on June 28 and July 17).

1990

Beginning at 9 AM, and continuing for the rest of the day, 2.40" of rain fell.  This was a little less than two weeks after 2.32" fell, and brought the month's rainfall up to nine inches.  Today's heavy rain kept the temperature well below average, as the high was only 60°, fourteen degrees below average.

 

Clipart_raindrops_colorful

1995

During a severe nighttime thunderstorm on Memorial Day, 0.50" of rain fell in just 30 minutes (10:40-11:10 PM).  The storm was also accompanied by hail.   

1999

The Memorial Day weekend began today, and all three days were marked by sunny skies and high temperatures in the upper 80s (87°-88°-89°).

 

Clipart_happysun_sunglasses2001

Including today's 0.18" of rain, all but 0.07" of the month's 2.03" rainfall came in the past nine days (the first seventeen days of the month had no measurable rain).

2006

Today was Memorial Day, and for the first time since 1999 the temperature rose into the 80s.  The afternoon high of 88° was fourteen degrees above average.

 

Memorial_day

2012

Under sunny skies, chances appeared very good that the year's first 90-degree reading would happen today.  Alas, we came up short by one degree, mirroring yesterday's high of 89°.  However, very high humidity (the dew point was in the low 70s) pushed the heat index into the mid-90s.

2016

Today was the fifth day in a row with a high temperature of 87° or warmer, and a mean temperature that was ten degrees or more above average (two days had highs in the 90s).  Temperatures during this five-day period were 14 degrees above average.

2017

Overcast skies and light rain from 6 AM until 1 PM kept temperatures on Memorial Day stuck in the upper 50s for much of the day (the official high, 61°, occurred shortly after midnight).  This was the chilliest Memorial Day since 2003, when the high was 56°.

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Today in New York Weather History: May 28

90degrees

 

May 28 is the average date of New York's first 90-degree temperature.  Since 1970 it's happened as early as April 7 (in 2010) and as late as July 14 (in 1985).  This date is more than two weeks earlier than what the average date was in the years before 1930, which was June 14 (1870-1929).

 

1886

For the eighth time this month the low was 51°.

1973

Today was Memorial Day and 0.59" of rain fell during the morning.  The afternoon remained overcast and the high reached 70°, five degrees below average.  

1977

Today's high was 92°, the ninth day in a row with a high of 80° or warmer (and twelfth of the past thirteen days).  During this warm spell, the high averaged 83°, nine degrees above average.

1984

For the second year in a row more than an inch of rain fell on Memorial Day.  Last year it fell in the early morning and evening.  This year it fell during the afternoon.

 

Singing_in_the_rain

1985

0.54" of rain fell in 30 minutes between 5:41-6:11 PM.  0.93" fell during the entire evening.

2012

Today was Memorial Day and for the seventh consecutive year the holiday had a high in the 80s.  Today's high was 89°, tying 1999 and 1991 as the hottest Memorial Day since 1969, when it was 91°.  Today also had the year's first 70-degree low, about a week earlier than average, and the earliest since 2007 (when it occurred on May 26).

 

Hot_sun

2013

Today's 0.52" of rain was the last rainfall of the month, bringing the total to 8.00" (the wettest May since 1990).  This was just the sixth month in the past 100 years to have a monthly precipitation total exactly at the inch mark.

2014

One day after a sultry high of 86° (which drove me to turn on my AC for the first time this year), today was overcast, with afternoon temperatures only in the upper 50s.

2021

Morning sunshine gave way to overcast skies in the afternoon, and rain moved in after 4:00 (just as the Memorial Day weekend was getting underway).  The rain became steady and wind-swept for the rest of the day (peak gust was 36 mph at Central Park), and amounted to 1.22", which was a record amount for the date (the rain continued thru the morning of 5/29).  The temperature dropped from 69° in the early afternoon to 49° less than twelve hours later.  This was the latest date for a reading in the 40s since 2000 (when it happened on 6/7). 

 

 

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Weather Highlights of Past Memorial Day Weekends

Memorial_day

 

Chances are good that rain will fall on at least one of the days of the three-day Memorial Day weekend, with Memorial Day (Monday) being the day most likely to receive significant rain; however, one-third of the weekends have been completely rain-free.  Weekends averaging a high of 85° or warmer have occurred in six years: 1981, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1999 and 2016.  Readings in the 90s have been rare, occurring six times on Saturday, but never on Sunday or on Memorial Day (observed on Monday since 1971).  On the flip side of the coin, Memorial Day weekend 2003 was the dreariest and chilliest, with the average high temperature only in the upper 50s over the three days.  But the chilliest day occurred in 2013 when the high/low was just 54°/45° at the start of the weekend.

 

What follow are weather highlights from previous Memorial Day weekends:

 

  • 1971 (May 29-31) - Conditions during the first three-day Memorial Day weekend were not very good.  Rain fell on Sunday and Monday mornings, and Sunday saw a high/low of just 62°/54°, nine degrees below average.
  • 1972 (May 27-29) - The weekend started off chilly with a low of 47°, but Sunday and Monday were five degrees warmer than average, with highs of 81° and 78°, under sunny skies.
  • 1973 (May 26-28) - Skies were overcast all three days and temperatures well below average.  The weekend's average high/low of 63°/51° was nine degrees below average and would be the chilliest Memorial Day weekend until 2003.  And the morning of Memorial Day was rainy, with 0.59" measured.
  • 1974 (May 25-27) - Memorial Day had a high of only 55°, nineteen degrees below average, and the chilliest high temperature on Memorial Day in the Monday holiday period.
  • 1975 (May 24-26) - The high on Saturday was a sizzling 93°, but a cold front moved through during the evening and Sunday afternoon's temperatures were only in the upper 50s.
  • 1977 (May 28-30) - After a high of 92° on Saturday, temperatures were twenty degrees cooler on Sunday and Monday.  Showers fell for three hours at around daybreak on Memorial Day.
  • 1980 (May 24-26) - After a hot Friday (high of 90°) the weekend gradually cooled down, but afternoon temperatures were still warmer than average: 86°-84°-76°.   
  • 1981 (May 23-25) - Sunny and summery all three days, with highs of 78°-86°-87°. 

 

Memorial.day.weekend

 

  • 1984 (May 26-28) - For the second year in a row more than an inch of rain fell on Memorial Day (Monday).  Last year it fell in the early morning and evening.  This year it fell in the afternoon.  The weekend started out summery as the high of 85° was the warmest reading of the month.
  • 1987 (May 23-25) - Memorial Day was very cool, with a high of just 63°, eleven degrees cooler than average.  The holiday came one week too early as the following weekend had temperatures in the 90s.
  • 1991 (May 25-27) - Highs of 93°-81°-89° made this the warmest Memorial Day weekend (until 1999), eleven degrees above average.  At 93°, Saturday's afternoon high tied 1975 as the hottest temperature during any Memorial Day weekend in the 1971-2020 period.  And Monday's high of 89° made it the hottest Memorial Day since 1969 (before it was a Monday holiday).  Finally, an inch of rain fell Monday night between 11 PM and 3 AM, the first rain in two weeks.
  • 1992 (May 23-25) - A real Jekyl & Hyde weekend.  Saturday had mid-summer conditions with a high of 92°.  Then Sunday was the transition day as a strong cold front pushed through in early afternoon and temperatures plummeted from the low 80s to 45° by midnight.  Monday felt more like October with overcast skies and a high of just 61°.  The AM low of 44° was the second chilliest reading on Memorial Day (only 1880 was colder, at 42°).  In the course of the weekend highs went from 19 above average to 13 below average.
  • 1999 (May 29-31) - One of the all-time great holiday weekends, and the warmest Memorial Day weekend on record.  Each day had a high in the upper 80s under clear skies and with low humidity.  Monday's high of 89° tied 1991 for the warmest Memorial Day of the 1971-2020 period.      
  • 2001 (May 26-28) - For the first time since 1990 rain fell on Saturday of the holiday weekend.  And although very little rain fell, this year's holiday was distinguished as being the only one of the 1971-2020 period to report rain on each day: 0.06" on Saturday, 0.08" on Sunday and 0.05" on Monday. 
  • 2003 (May 24-26) - Quite a dismal weekend, the coolest in the years since 1971 (until 2021), and the second rainiest Memorial Day ever (1.28").  All three days had gray skies and cool temperatures, ten degrees below average.  The high on Monday was just 56°, eighteen degrees below average, making it the second chilliest Memorial Day (one degree above 1974).
  • 2006 (May 27-29) - For the first time in seven years the temperature on Memorial Day was in the 80s.   
  • 2010 (May 29-31) - This was the third year in a row in which no rain fell on any day of the three-day weekend.  High temperatures were warmer each day: 77° on Saturday; 84° on Sunday; 86° on Monday.
  • 2011 (May 28-30) - For the sixth year in a row, the holiday weekend was a warm one.  It was also the sixth year in a row in which the high on Memorial Day rose into the 80s.  The average high during these six years was 84°, ten degrees above average.   
  • 2012 (May 26-28) - For the seventh consecutive year Memorial Day had a high in the 80s.  This year's high of 89° tied that of 1999 and 1991 for the hottest reading on Memorial Day since 1969's 91° (when it was not a Monday holiday, but fell on 5/30).  The entire weekend was eleven degrees warmer than average.  Memorial Day also had the year's first low in the 70s, one week earlier than average and the earliest since 2007 (when it occurred on May 26).
  • 2013 (May 25-27) - After starting raw and damp on Saturday (high of just 55°), conditions steadily improved, with Sunday being ten degrees warmer (mid-60s) under partly cloudy skies; and then Memorial Day saw the temperature rise another seven degrees under clear skies.  However, because of Saturday's chill (the coldest day of any Memorial Day weekend), the 3-day weekend ended up as the second chilliest since Memorial Day became a Monday holiday in 1971.   
  • 2015 (May 23-25) - It was a mostly sunny and dry weekend with temperatures warming each day: 70°/49° on Saturday, 81°/56° on Sunday and 85°/64° on Monday.  This was the ninth year of the last ten to have temperatures in the 80s on Memorial Day.  Memorial Day this year was nearly identical to that of last year except for the fact that the high was one degree cooler.
  • 2016 (May 28-30) - Conditions all weekend were summer-like, with highs of 92°, 87° and 82°.  Based on the average high temperature, this was the third warmest Memorial Day weekend, after 1999 and 1991.  However, based on mean temperature this was the warmest of them all as morning lows were four degrees milder than the other two years.  And although Memorial Day was the second wettest on record, the 1.65" of rain that poured down (from remnants of tropical storm Bonnie) came before daybreak, but the daylight hours were dry (but sticky, with a dew point around 70°), with a mix of sun and clouds.

 

Warmest Memorial Day Weekends

 

  • 2017 (May 27-29) - High temperatures were below average each day, but especially on Memorial Day (71°-71°-61°).  This was the coolest high on the holiday since 2003 (the high actually occurred shortly after midnight, with afternoon temperatures only in the upper 50s).  The cool conditions were accompanied by showers in the morning.
  • 2018 (May 26-28) - Saturday was sunny and hot, with a high of 89°, but was followed by fall-like conditions on Sunday and Monday, with a breeze out of the northeast, overcast skies and afternoon temperatures in the 50s on 5/27 and the 60s on Memorial Day.
  • 2019 (May 25-27) - Both Saturday and Sunday had sunny skies through mid-afternoon, then clouds gathered; Sunday's clouds produced heavy showers between 5:30-6:30 (0.20" was measured).  Before Sunday's showers the day had the warmest reading of the year so far; its high of 86° was fifteen degrees warmer than Saturday's.  Memorial Day had optimal conditions, with wall-to-wall sunshine, comfortable humidity and a high of 80°.  (This was the first time this year with back-to-back highs in the 80s.)

 

Memorial day 2019 

 

2020 (May 23-25) - The weekend began with a hard rain late in the morning on Saturday.  The 0.65" that fell (most of it between 11 AM and noon), not only made it the rainiest day of the month, but the rainiest Saturday of Memorial Day weekend in nearly 40 years (when 0.68" fell in 1982).  The three-day weekend nearly became the third to have every day with a high below 70°, but the temperature rose to 71° on Memorial Day.

2021 (May 29-31) - This was the chilliest three-day Memorial Day weekend on record.  Although Memorial Day was eight degrees cooler than average (high/low of 70°/49°), it felt summer-like compared to Saturday and Sunday, which were overcast, rainy and very cool, with each day having a high/low of just 51°/47°.  (And the sun broke out Monday afternoon.)  This was just the second Memorial Day weekend to report measurable rain on each day (joining 2001), as 0.46” fell on Saturday, 0.89” on Sunday, and 0.02” fell in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Chart - three chilliest memorial day weekends
 

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