Warmer-than-average temperatures were present for all regions except the Northwest, with the largest departures from average across the Central Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. Twenty-six states had May temperatures ranking among their ten warmest.
Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville, Florida on May 28th, bringing beneficial rainfall to parts of the drought-stricken Southeast. Beryl occurred on the heels of Tropical Storm Alberto, marking only the third time on record that two tropical cyclones reached tropical storm strength during May in the North Atlantic basin.
Ongoing drought, combined with windy conditions, created ideal wildfire conditions across the Southwest. The Whitewater-Baldy Fire complex in the Gila National Forest of western New Mexico grew out of control and charred over 210,000 acres by the beginning of June. The fire surpassed 2011’s Las Conchas Fire as the largest wildfire on record for the state.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of May 29th, 37.4 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing drought conditions, a slight decrease from 38.2 percent at the beginning of May. Drought conditions improved across the coastal Southeast, the Southern Plains, Northeast, and Upper Midwest, while they deteriorated for parts of the Mid-South and Southwest.