The warmest month of May in 35 years closed out Thursday as the fifth hottest May on record in Central Indiana amid a lingering dry spell.
A steady warming trend commencing May 23 persisted right through the Memorial Day weekend. Indiana experienced the warmest weather of the year to date as highs on May 26, 27 and 28 topped out in the low and mid 90s. That marked the longest and hottest heat wave since early September 2011
At Indianapolis, there were 23 days in May with above-normal average temperatures as May 2012 tied for the fifth warmest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.
May was another dry month in much of Indiana, especially in portions of southwest and northeast Indiana. Most areas received between one and four inches of rainfall during the month.
Rainfall was not evenly distributed during May. Most locations went 20 to 26 days with very little rainfall. Rainfall was nearly absent from the state from the May 10-28.
May is typically the wettest month of the year in Indiana, averaging 5.05 inches annually. For May 2012, the Indianapolis area recorded only 2.56 inches of rain and experienced 22 days where it was completely dry.
Drought conditions expanded during the month. The U.S. Drought Monitor on May 29 indicated 50 percent of the state in drought conditions. Dry conditions in Vigo and Sullivan counties prompted countywide burning bans during the latter part of May.
Rainfall on May 29 in central and southern Indiana and cooler weather alleviated dry conditions to some extent. Significant rainfall during the waning hours of May and continuing into early June provided some additional relief.
May 2012 will stand as the 42nd driest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
Meanwhile, the official outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for June indicates a higher chance of above-normal temperatures for central Indiana.
In the Indianapolis area, the average temperature for June is 72 degrees.
The outlook also calls for an equal chance of above-normal, normal or below-normal precipitation. The average June rainfall in the Indianapolis area is 4.25 inches.