Spring Climate Stats from NOAA
Meteorological spring (March through May 2022)
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during meteorological spring was 52.2 degrees F (1.3 degrees F above average), which ranked in the warmest third of the record. Temperatures were above average from California to the Deep South and, in general, from the Mississippi River to the East Coast. Rhode Island ranked fourth warmest while nine additional states — Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas — ranked among their ten-warmest spring seasons on record. Temperatures were below average from the Pacific Northwest to the Upper Midwest.
The spring precipitation total of 8.07 inches (0.13 of an inch above average) placed it in the middle third of the record. Precipitation was above average across parts of the Northwest, northern Plains, Great Lakes, central Plains, along portions of the central and eastern Gulf Coast and across parts of the Northeast for the season. Precipitation during March-May was below average from California to the High Plains and western Gulf Coast. North Dakota ranked fourth wettest while New Mexico ranked sixth driest spring season.
Year to date
The average U.S. temperature for the year to date (YTD, January through May) was 44.3 degrees F, 1.0 degree F above average, ranking in the warmest third of the record. Temperatures were above average from California to Texas and from the central Gulf Coast to New England. California ranked eighth warmest on record for this period. Temperatures were below average in parts of the Northwest and from the northern Plains to parts of the Midwest.
The first five months of 2022 were also quite dry, with a precipitation total of 11.48 inches, 0.91 of an inch below average, and ranking in the driest third of the record. Precipitation was above average from the northern Plains to the Great Lakes and from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the Northeast. Precipitation was below average across much of the West and Deep South, as well as portions of the central Plains during the January-May period. California saw its driest such YTD on record while Nevada, Utah and Arizona ranked third driest for this five-month period. Meanwhile, North Dakota saw its fourth-wettest January-May.
Other notable highlights from the report
Wildfires roared across the landscape: As of May 31, the largest fire in New Mexico history, the Hermits Peak Fire, had consumed more than 315,000 acres and was 50% contained. Across all 50 states, 1.9 million acres have burned from January 1 through June 2 — more than twice the average for this time of year.
Drought improved overall, with exceptions: According to the May 31 U.S. Drought Monitor reportoffsite link, 49.3% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down about 4.5% from the beginning of May. Areas of the Pacific Northwest, northern Rocky Mountains and High Plains saw drought conditions improve over the month of May while drought intensified or expanded across the Southwest, West and parts of the Northeast.
A stormy May with fewer tornadoes: Several rounds of severe weather hit the U.S. during May, producing 196 preliminary tornado reports. This is 71% of the 1991-2010 average for tornadoes for the month of May (276). On May 4, severe storms formed across the central Plains and produced several tornadoes including an EF3 tornado near Lockett, Texas. A line of severe storms, also known as a derecho, barreled across the central Plains into the Upper Midwest on May 12, causing extensive damage from at least 13 tornadoes and straight-line winds.
Edited for WeatherNation by Mace Michaels