When we look at March, April, and May at TF Green airport, the meteorological spring of 2014 was 1.6° below normal. This probably comes as no surprise. However, it is a little surprising (at least to me) that the month of May was slightly warmer (0.6°) than normal. While I did not conduct a scientific pole, anecdotal evidence tells me that many of you would also be surprised by this. My anecdotal evidence is based on emails, social media, and personal interactions with viewers. These interactions have a common theme…..”When is the warm weather going to get here?!!!”
So why did May seem to be a cool month when, in reality, it was actually warmer than normal? There is no right or wrong answer to this, but I decided to offer up a few theories for this difference between perception and reality.
TOP 5 REASONS WHY THE MONTH OF MAY “SEEMED” COOL
1) The Memorial Day Bust
I was the on-air meteorologist on Memorial Day for the morning and noon show. During the morning show, my forecast was “morning showers clearing to afternoon sunshine with highs in the 80s”. I will be the first to admit that this forecast did not work out. The high temperature did hit 78°; so in terms of temperature it was actually an above normal day. However, because rain and clouds lingered for much of the afternoon, the day ended up a being a disappointment and “cooler” than expected.
2) Cloudy, Foggy Mornings
Most of my weather shifts are on weekend mornings. During this past May, it seemed that almost every Saturday and Sunday morning had thick fog in place! It is quite common to get fog here in southern New England, but my memory of May 2014 is that it was especially foggy. When a morning is gloomy and foggy, it can sometimes set a “cool” tone for the entire day, even if brighter skies move in during the afternoon.
3) No Sizzling Beach Days
Usually in May, we get a decent stretch of days in the 80s and sometimes even a few 90s. For 2014, we had zero days in the 90s and only 3 days in the 80s….not exactly hot beach weather. Compare this to 2013 when May had 3 days in the 80s and 2 days in the 90s. In 2012, May had zero days in the 90s but 6 days in the 80s. Overall, despite being a little warmer than average, May of 2014 did not have many “hot” days….I think this helped lead to the perception that May was a cool month.
4) Wednesday, May 28th Was a Ridiculously Chilly Day
The month of May was a mix of good and bad weather days, but the worst day came on Wednesday May 28th. Do you remember that? In addition to the periods of rain, the high temperature only made it to 53° and gusty winds kept wind chills in the 40s for much of the day. Not fun! Because that day came so late in the month, I think it is still stuck in our memories when we think back on May.
5) Chilly Ocean = Chilly Sea Breeze
I did a story during the middle of May about the first group of beaches opening for the season. At the time, Newport Harbor water temperatures were in the upper 40s. By the end of the month, they made it into the 50s. When winds come in off of the water (as they often do in the spring), it can have a dramatic cooling effect on the immediate coast. Because official temperatures are kept at TF Green airport, they don’t always reflect the cooler temperature at our local beaches.
The list above contains my theories, so there is plenty of room for disagreement on this topic. Here’s to some warmer beach days this summer! -Pete Mangione