NCDC Releases May 2012 U.S. Monthly Climate Report: U.S. Experiences Second Warmest May and Warmest Spring on Record

Credit: NOAA

The average temperature for the contiguous United States during May was 64.3°F, 3.3°F above the long-term average, making it the second warmest May on record. The month’s high temperatures also contributed to the warmest spring, warmest year-to-date, and warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.

Warmer-than-average temperatures occurred across all U.S. regions except the Northwest in May. Twenty-six states had May temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Additionally, precipitation patterns across the contiguous United States were mixed during May. The Eastern Seaboard and Upper Midwest were wetter than average. North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire and Minnesota had May precipitation totals among their ten wettest. Dry conditions prevailed across the Mid-Mississippi River Valley, Southern Plains, and the Interior West with Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nevada and Utah having a top ten dry May.

The nationally averaged temperature of 57.1°F during spring was 5.2°F above the long-term average. With the warmest March, third warmest April, and second warmest May, spring 2012 marked the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States. Spring was also drier than average for the contiguous United States as a whole, with a national precipitation total of 7.47 inches, 0.24 inch below average.

This monthly analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business, and community leaders so they can make informed decisions. Read the full report at