Could the abnormally hot end to May be a sign of things to come?


We got into the 90s for the first time in 2018 on Memorial Day.

We did it again the day after.

In fact, if Sunday had hit 90 (we hit 89), we'd be talking about our first heat wave of the season...and it's not even June.

To explain why it's so hot, we need to look at a few things. High pressure is sitting on top of the area so we're experiencing stable, sinking air in the region.

We've also watched the jet stream push north of central Ohio, which has allowed a surge of hot air to push into the area.

All of this led to one of the hottest Memorial Days in recorded history.

Source: NWS

According to the NWS, there were only nine Memorial Days that hit at least 90 degrees through 2017. This year's 91 pushes that number to 10 which means we only see air that hot about 7.2% of the time on the holiday.

So what does this mean for the upcoming summer?

Well, the last time we hit at least 90 on Memorial Day was back on 2012 when we climbed to 93 degrees. That was a HOT summer. Having said that, I need to point out that the weather on one day is by no means an accurate way of predicting what will happen over the next month, much less three.

Of course, I should further point out that every time we've hit at least 90 degrees on Memorial Day the subsequent summer was warmer than average. In fact, only three of those years had one summer month (defined as June, July or August) with below average temperatures. The rest of those years saw every summer month with above average temperatures.

But before you go call your air conditioner company to stock up on extra freon, keep in mind that in the 1930s, which was a decade with a number of hot summers, didn't see one Memorial Day with a high of at least 90.

Bottom line, the clatter of a singular one hot day gets lost in the noise of the long-term average.

One thing we do look for when thinking about the long-term is patterns.

Throughout the month of May, we saw a pattern set up that is typically more in line with what we see in the summer and not late spring. You probably already know that this May has been a warm one. If the forecast holds, 24 out of 31 days will hit at least 80 degrees and this will go down as the hottest May on record in Columbus.

The last time we had a May this warm we saw a hot summer.

This all falls in line with the summer outlook from the Climate Prediction Center which is giving us a decent shot at warmer than average conditions.

Keep in mind it's hard enough to predict the weather a week out so three months is that much more difficult.

There's still time for this to change. We'll keep you posted if it does.