Last month was Fresno's sixth warmest May on record

The Fresno BeeJune 2, 2014 

Fresno had its sixth warmest May on record this year with nearly no rain, the National Weather Service office in Hanford reported.

The hottest Fresno day was May 15 at 102. On average, highs lingered around 88, about four degrees higher than usual. Lows were warmer by about four degrees as well, with 52 degrees being the coolest it ever got. Normally, average temperatures in May are around 70, but this year the average temperature was 74.

Though the heat didn't break any records, many May records were tied. Fresno tied prior records for high temperatures and warmest low temperatures. The warmest May in Fresno on record was in 2001, when it averaged just over 77.

A ridge of high pressure kept the Valley warm and dry in May, said Kevin Durfee, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. Fresno's "desert-like" conditions added to that, he said.

"If there's no water in the ground, a consequence of that is that air temperatures can get hotter," Durfee said.

Fresno received only .04 inches rain last month. Normally, May yields about .4 of an inch. Fresno still hasn't received even half the precipitation it normally does during the rain year, which runs July 1 to June 30. At 4.81 inches so far, rainfall totals are nearly 7 inches below normal.

The National Weather Service has ranked this year's rainy season the third driest on record, merely .5 inches below the driest in 1933-34.

The 30-day outlook forecast for June in Fresno looks just as warm and dry, Durfee said. A ridge of high pressure should return by the end of the week, driving up temperatures toward the 100-degree mark.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or bvaccari@fresnobee.com.

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