National Overview - May 2003
NCDC added Alaska climate divisions to its nClimDiv dataset on Friday, March 6, 2015, coincident with the release of the February 2015 monthly monitoring report. For more information on this data, please visit the Alaska Climate Divisions FAQ.
Maps and Graphics:
|Current Month||Most Recent 3 Months||Most Recent 6 Months|
|Most Recent 12 Months||US Percent Area Very
||Monthly Drought Indices|
|Conditions were generally wetter than average in
the East and drier than average across much of the South and High
Plains states for May 2003. Rainfall was heavy across the Southeast
and eastern Midwest as a series of storms impacted the regions
early in the month. Parts of the South and Southwest were warmer
than average for the month, while states in the Mid Atlantic region
and Northeast were generally cooler than average for May.
Several outbreaks of severe weather occurred across parts of the Midwest stretching into the Tennessee Valley in the first 10 days of May. An incredible 84 tornadoes were reported on May 4 and 5 and at least 38 people in Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee were killed as a result of the storms. Further storms during May 6-10 led to a federal disaster declaration covering the entire state of Oklahoma and a total of 42 people died in the first 10 days of May from the severe weather. From May 1-May 10, 412 tornadoes occurred, breaking the record for the most tornadoes ever to have occurred during a ten-day period. More details and graphics on this unusual outbreak can be found on NCDC's Global Hazards page.
Snow cover generally retreated northward across Canada during May. Some further heavy snow fell in parts of Colorado, but overall across the U.S., very little snowfall activity occurred. For monthly totals and a seasonal summary see NCDC's Snow Summary page.
Hurricane season in the eastern North Pacific officially begins on May 1st, and the first tropical storm of 2003 (Andres) formed on May 20th. Maximum windspeeds reached 40 knots (46 mph) and Andres never threatened land. It weakened back to a tropical depression on the 25th. The Atlantic season does not officially begin until June 1st, though some pre-season activity was recorded in April leading to the first named storm of the season for the Atlantic. See the East Pacific hurricane page and the Atlantic Hurricane page for further details.
La Nina conditions continued to develop across the tropical Pacific indicating that associated climate impacts will likely be felt in many areas of the world, including the United States, by the fall. It is not yet clear how strong the La Nina event will be, but to see the latest NOAA advisory and typical impacts of a La Nina episode for the U.S., go to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
Monthly and Seasonal Highlights:
It should be emphasized that all of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed.
Citing This Report
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for May 2003, published online June 2003, retrieved on April 18, 2015 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2003/5.