Georgia was a hot and wet place to live in May.
In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 73.4 degrees F (3.6 degrees above normal), in Athens 72.5 degrees (3.4 degrees above normal), Columbus 75.2 degrees (2.9 degrees above normal), Macon 74.4 degrees (3.4 above normal), Savannah 75.9 degrees (3.1 degrees above normal), Brunswick 76.7 degrees (3 degrees above normal), Alma 75.9 degrees (2.1 degrees above normal), Valdosta 77.7 degrees (5 degrees above normal) and Augusta 74.2 degrees (3.7 degrees above normal).
Record high minimum temperatures were set in Savannah and Augusta May 2. The 72 degrees in Savannah beat the old record of 71 degrees set in 2002, and the 70 degree measurement in Augusta surpassed the old record of 69 degrees set in 1906. Augusta also tied its daily high temperature May 2 with 94 degrees.
Most of the state received above-normal rainfall, too. However, a few areas along the coast and near Augusta were below normal.
The highest monthly total from National Weather Service reporting stations was 6.87 inches in Atlanta (2.92 inches above normal). The lowest was in Augusta at 1.36 inches (1.71 inches below normal). Valdosta received 4.54 inches (1.30 inches above normal), Macon 4.31 inches (1.33 inches above normal), Athens 5.89 inches (2.03 inches above normal), Brunswick 1.41 inches (1.28 inches below normal), Columbus 5.83 inches (2.21 inches above normal), Savannah 3.88 inches (.27 inch above normal) and Alma 3.81 inches (.71 inch above normal).
Record daily rainfalls were set in Atlanta, Athens and Columbus May 3. Atlanta received 2.81 inches, surpassing its old record of 2.07 inches set in 1922. Athens received 3.07 inches, exceeding its old record of 1.63 inches set in 1905. Columbus received 4.75 inches, surpassing its old record of 4.29 inches set in 1957.
The highest single-day rainfall from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations was 5.24 inches in Bibb County May 4. An observer in Cobb County received 5.03 inches May 3. The highest monthly rainfall total was 11.23 inches from an observer northwest of Ellijay. Several other observers at scattered locations in northern Georgia reported over 9 inches for the month.
There were no tornadoes reported. However, severe weather hit somewhere in the state on 15 separate days. Numerous reports of hail and high winds were received May 21, with heavy roof damage to a nursing home observed in Houston County. A 5-minute storm of golf ball-sized hail covered the ground in Charlton County at Stephen Foster State Park. May 28, strong storms delayed flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and caused numerous power outages.
Lightning caused damage to the MARTA east-west tracks in Atlanta May 3 during the heavy rain, leading to delays of several hours as trains were rerouted to alternate tracks.
The first confirmed 2010 case of West Nile Virus in Georgia led public health officials to worry that favorable conditions for development of the carrier mosquito could lead to more cases in the peak summer season July through September.
The wet conditions improved soil moisture levels. Crop planting in most areas proceeded rapidly. Peach farmers reported that the cold winter, coupled with the mild spring, has led to a bumper crop. The last time this happened was six years ago.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Pam Knox is the assistant state climatologist and an engineering program coordinator in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.