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Prepared by Florida Climate Center
The Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

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Key Points:

  • Monthly average temperatures in May were near to above normal across the state.
  • Rainfall totals for the month were above normal for many areas, particularly in the Panhandle and southwest regions.
  • As of May 24, severe drought (D2) has been removed for most places, while moderate drought (D1) and abnormally dry (D0) conditions continue to impact parts of the state.
  • La Niña conditions are favored to continue into the summer and fall, with a 58% chance in August-October 2022. The chances of La Nina occurring this fall and into early winter have increased to 61%.


Average temperatures in May continued to be near to above normal across the state. Average temperature departures from normal ranged from 0.0 ̊F in Key West to +2.5 ̊F in Orlando for the month (see Table 1 and Appendix 1 for select cities). Many stations across Florida recorded one of their top 5 warmest Mays on record, including Tampa (2nd-warmest), Jacksonville Beach (2nd-warmest), Orlando (3rd-warmest), Pensacola (4th-warmest), and Miami (5th-warmest). Several daily high maximum temperature records were tied or broken throughout the month, though more daily high minimum temperature records were set (see appendix 2).

Table 1.  May average temperatures and departures from normal ( ̊F) for selected cities.

Station Mean Temperature Departure from Normal
Pensacola 78.2 +2.2
Tallahassee 76.5 +1.3
Jacksonville 75.5 +0.6
Orlando 79.8 +2.5
Tampa 81.6 +2.1
Miami 81.6 +1.5
Key West 81.1 0.0 


Rainfall totals in May were above normal across much of the state, particularly the western Panhandle, as well as parts of the Peninsula. The monthly precipitation departures from normal ranged from -1.87 inches in Orlando to +8.15 inches in Pensacola (Table 2 and Appendix 1). Pensacola recorded its wettest May on record at 12.05 inches (based on a 74-year record from the Pensacola Regional Airport station). The surplus of rainfall across the western Panhandle brought Pensacola out of deficit for the year, with a year-to-date departure from normal of +2.6 inches. However, several locations continue to see rainfall deficits for the year, including Venice at -3.5 inches of rainfall to date and Vero Beach at -7.8 inches to date. Ample rainfall during May helped to alleviate drought in some areas of southwest Florida, though abnormally dry conditions and moderate drought persist in some areas (see below).

Table 2. May precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.

Station Total Rainfall Departure from Normal
Pensacola 12.05 +8.15
Tallahassee 3.29 -0.07
Jacksonville 4.88 +1.46
Orlando 2.15 -1.87
Tampa 2.71 +0.11
Miami 4.47 -1.85
Key West 1.72 -1.40 


Figure 1. A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for May (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).

Figure 1.  A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for May (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).


La Niña Advisory.

Chances for La Niña, the cool phase of the ENSO climate pattern, to return this fall and early winter for a third year in a row have increased (61% chance). La Niña is still favored to continue into the late Northern Hemisphere summer (58% chance in August-October 2022). Over the past month, the Niño index values ranged from -1.1°C and -1.5°C, and subsurface temperature anomalies remained negative reflecting a large area of below-average temperatures from the surface down to ~100m depth across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. Overall, the coupled ocean-atmosphere system continues to reflect the presence of La Niña.


Hazardous Weather Events in May.

According to the Local Storm Reports issued by the local National Weather Service offices serving Florida, there were 399 individual local reports of hazardous weather events recorded across the state during the month of May (see Table 4 for a breakdown by event type). Severe storms with high wind gusts, hail, and localized heavy rain affected many areas throughout the month. A severe storm on May 6th produced straight line winds that were reported at 80-90 mph in Taylor County, resulting in damages to trees and structures in the vicinity. Heavy rain was reported across Gulf County on the 24th-26th, with rainfall totals as much as 13.6 inches over the three-day period. There was no tropical cyclone development in May, the first time in seven years since 2015, though Invest 90L came close on the 22nd as it formed in the Gulf of Mexico just before moving inland near Pensacola.


Table 4. Breakdown of storm reports submitted in Florida during the month of May (compiled from Iowa State University/Iowa Environmental Mesonet).

Report Type Number of Reports
Flash Flood 6
Heavy Rain 15
Flood 11
Hail 106
Lightning 5
Marine Thunderstorm Wind 59
Non-Thunderstorm Wind Gust 1
Non-Thunderstorm Wind Damage 0
Tornado/Waterspout/Funnel Cloud 9/33/6
Thunderstorm Wind Damage 48
Thunderstorm Wind Gust 91
Rip Currents 1
Wildfire 7


Drought-Related Impacts.

At the beginning of May, nearly 4% of the state was in severe drought (D2), 14% was in moderate drought (D1), and 20% was abnormally dry (D0), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As of May 24, drought conditions had improved with only 1% of the state in severe drought (D2), roughly 7% in moderate drought (D1), and 26% of the state was experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions continue to impact areas of the south-central Peninsula, and abnormally dry conditions exist in the coastal Panhandle and Big Bend regions (Figure 2 below).

As of May 31, the Lake Okeechobee water level was 12.60 ft. above sea level (Feet-NGVD29), which is below average for this time of the year. The water level declined throughout the month but remains well above the water shortage management threshold. At the first of the month, the water level was around 12.98 ft. above sea level.


Figure 2. A graphical depiction of the current drought conditions in Florida according to the U.S. Drought Monitor (courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

drought monitor


Agriculture-Related Impacts.

During mid-May, topsoil moisture conditions were adequate in 55% of the state, short in 32%, and very short in 10% of the state, while just 3% of the state had surplus moisture conditions. By the end of May, topsoil moisture had improved with levels adequate in 70% of the state, short in 15%, and very short in 2% of the state; 13% of the state was in surplus. For more information, consult the Crop Progress and Conditions report, which is published by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.


Appendix 1
Additional May departures from normal data for select Florida locations (Source: NWS).

Station Average Temperature (˚F) Departure from Normal (˚F) Total Rainfall (in.) Departure from Normal (in.)
Gainesville 76.0 +1.0 3.77 +0.69
Sarasota 78.8 +1.0 4.26 +1.68
Melbourne 78.5 +0.4 0.78 -2.75
Fort Myers 80.3 +1.0 8.67 +5.21
West Palm Beach 80.1 +1.4 1.88 -3.03


Appendix 2
Select daily record high minimum temperatures broken or tied during May (compiled from NOAA).

Location Date Record (˚F) Broken/Tied Last
Key West 6 83 Broken 82 in 1967
Orlando 7 75 Broken 74 in 1984
Key West 7 84 Broken 80 in 1978
Lakeland 7 71 Broken 70 in 1995
Key West 9 83 Broken 81 in 2019
Orlando 18 74 Broken 73 in 2003
Tampa 19 77 Broken 76 in 2016
Pensacola 19 76 Tied 76 in 2017
Jacksonville Beach 20 79 Broken 77 in 2017
Melbourne 20 75 Broken 74 in 1985
Pensacola 20 78 Broken 75 in 1957
Niceville 21 76 Broken 75 in 1938
Perrine 21 78 Broken 73 in 2021
Wewahitchka 21 73 Broken 72 in 1990
Marianna 21 74 Broken 73 in 2008
Miami 21 82 Broken 80 in 1991
West Palm Beach 21 79 Tied 79 in 1991
Pensacola 21 78 Broken 77 in 1957
Fort Lauderdale 22 79 Broken 77 in 2018
Hialeah 22 80 Broken 79 in 2001
Perrine 22 79 Broken 75 in 2018
Royal Palm (RS) 22 77 Broken 73 in 2018
Stuart 22 79 Broken 78 in 1957
Ochopee 22 76 Broken 73 in 2016
Fort Myers 22 78 Broken 75 in 2008
Miami 22 81 Broken 79 in 2011
Vero Beach 22 77 Broken 75 in 1964
West Palm Beach 22 80 Broken 78 in 2011
Clermmont 23 74 Broken 72 in 2017
Fort Lauderdale 23 79 Broken 78 in 1957
Kissimmee 23 76 Broken 74 in 2015
Titusville 23 77 Broken 76 in 2001
Vero Beach 23 77 Broken 76 in 2020
Daytona Beach 23 75 Broken 74 in 1997
Fort Lauderdale 24 79 Broken 78 in 1915
Hastings 24 72 Broken 71 in 1991
Inverness 24 75 Broken 74 in 2017
Tampa 24 79 Broken 78 in 2020
West Palm Beach 24 79 Broken 78 in 2019
Key West 25 85 Broken 81 in 1961
Tampa 26 74 Broken 72 in 2020
Key West 26 85 Broken 82 in 2020
Orlando 27 77 Broken 76 in 2000

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