Soon we will close the books on a wet and cool April and I thought we'd look ahead to May and lend some insight into what you can expect.
May is typically a turning point in our weather, when we transition farther away from winter's cool and settle in to routinely warmer, “summer-preview”-type weather.
At the start of May, the average high in Charlotte stands at a comfortable 76 degrees. But by month's end, afternoon readings typically manage the low to middle 80s. The 10-degree jump in nighttime lows from 51 on the 1st to 61 on the 31st is even more noteworthy.
If you wondering about records, May nights - especially early in the month - can still be very cool. The record low for the month is 32 degrees - literally freezing – set on May 2, 1963. Lows in the 30s are not uncommon early in the month, but do become increasingly rare past about the 15th, so it's usually a safe bet your plants and gardens will go unharmed.
As for highs, sure, it can get hot in May. Typically we reach 90 degrees for the first time (since the previous fall) during the month. In fact, Charlotte's record for the month is just shy of the century mark, 98 set on the 29th in 1941.
Thanks to the increased risk of heavy thunderstorms, May can also be wet. Over a foot of rain fell across the Piedmont during May 1975, and nearly 5 inches of rain fell in Charlotte in just one day, May 18, 1888. More typical is 3 or 4 inches of rain spread out over the month, on average, just under an inch each week.
As for this May, the wet pattern we experienced in April will seemingly continue, at least through the middle part of the month.
The graphic linked above is the forecast issued Monday for the next 8-14 days. An unsettled pattern west of the Carolinas likely means more rich, Gulf of Mexico moisture will head our way leading to more rain.
As for temperatures, a flow of air forecast for the same period coming up out of the southwest usually means warmer than average conditions can be expected, and that's what the long-range forecast calls for across the Carolinas and much of the nation outside of the four-corners region.