TAMPA, Fla. — May is typically a very dry month. Sometimes there could be an early start to the rainy season or some tropical moisture that sneaks into the area. That happened in 2018 when May was extremely wet. In fact, over 19 inches of rain fell last year in Lakeland in May, making it the wettest month on record for Lakeland. 

  • Unusually wet start to May ending with hot, dry weather
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We had some tropical moisture that was pulled into the state last year and a few days had excessive rainfall.

This year, May was a little different. The month began unusually wet, which was basically a continuation of an unusually wet April. Then, on about the 13-15th of the month, the pattern in the United States changed. A large ridge of high pressure developed over the Southeast as broad low pressure held in the Southwest. This led to an active severe weather pattern from Texas through the Great Lakes States. With the pattern locked in place there wasn’t much change in the day-to-day weather across many areas of the country. Here, we experienced hot and dry weather. In fact, for most of us, the last 17 days of May had zero rainfall. And, in Tampa, the temperature hit or exceeded 90 degrees for the last 15 days of the month.  

Here is a look at the numbers for May as a whole:

  • Tampa
    • Average temperature 81.6 degrees (3.2 degrees above average)
    • Rainfall 4.78 inches (2.68 inches above average)
  • Lakeland
    • Average Temperature 80.8 degrees (3.7 degrees above average)
    • Rainfall 3.75 inches (0.39 inches above average)
  • Bradenton
    • Average Temperature 80.7 degrees (4.3 degrees above average)
    • Rainfall 1.78 inches (0.43 inches BELOW average)
  • Brooksville
    • Average Temperature 78.7 degrees (4.0 degrees above average)
    • Rainfall 3.71 inches (0.76 inches above average)
  • St Petersburg
    • Average Temperature 80.1 degrees (1.1 degrees above average)
    • Rainfall 3.27 inches (1.06 inches above average)

Looking ahead to June, this is when we typically get into our rainy season pattern, which is usually morning sunshine with afternoon storms enhanced by the sea breeze front. As a result, our average June rainfall is between 6 and 7 inches. The temperatures don’t vary much during June as our average high goes from 89 to 90 and lows go from 73 to 76 by the end of the month.

This year, the pattern looks like it may go into a somewhat typical summer storm pattern as early as next week.