June 7, 2023

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May 2023 has been unusually dry in Washington, D.C.

2 min read

Typically D.C.’s third rainiest month of the year, May 2023 is well positioned to finish among the driest on record in the nation’s capital.

WASHINGTON — This month is well positioned to finish among the driest Mays on record in the nation’s capital. 

That is significant because May is typically D.C.’s third rainiest month of the year, according to NOAA

This month’s dry weather has only compounded the drier than average conditions in the Mid-Atlantic Region, that date back to last August.

Eight out of nine months since August 2022 have been drier than average.

May will likely be the driest month yet in that stretch, with only 0.43 inches of reported rainfall in the nation’s capital as of May 24.

Although scattered showers are possible on Sunday, not enough rain is expected to ensure this month will finish outside the top 10 driest Mays.

There are two significant things to note when looking at the existing top 10 driest Mays in Washington, D.C.

Only two of D.C.’s driest Mays have occurred in the last 40 years, most recently in 1999. 

Also, D.C.’s second and ninth driest Mays, in 1986 and 1957, respectively, occurred in what were unusually dry years as a whole. That’s important because having an unusually dry month or two doesn’t mean the entire year will be drier than average.

The latest Drought Monitor Index shows widespread “abnormally dry” conditions across the D.C. metro area.

DC’s 10 Driest May’s (Source: NOAA)

1. 0.41” (1939)
2. 0.75” (1986)
3. 0.87” (1911)
4. 1.01” (1875)
5. 1.02” (1944)
6. 1.06” (1963)
7. 1.20” (1969)
8. 1.28” (1999)
9. 1.40” (1957)
10. 1.42” (1920)

Driest May’s at Dulles Airport (Source: NOAA)

1. 0.34” (2007)
2. 0.80” (1964)
3. 0.99” (1969)
4. 1.19” (1986)
5. 1.51” (1991)

2023-05-26 02:49:52

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