Fayette County

Lexington had its hottest May ever. The summer could sizzle if the trend holds.

Martin Perez, 6, played in the pool on the opening day, May 22, of the Southland Aquatic Center, 625 Hill-n-Dale Road, in Lexington. Lexington had the hottest May on record, according to the National Weather Service.
Martin Perez, 6, played in the pool on the opening day, May 22, of the Southland Aquatic Center, 625 Hill-n-Dale Road, in Lexington. Lexington had the hottest May on record, according to the National Weather Service. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Although days of heavy rainfall threatened to drown it out, record heat was the biggest weather milestone of May.

During May, the average temperature in Lexington was 72.8 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Not only was it the hottest May ever — more than a full degree warmer than 1962's average of 71.6 degrees — it was also warmer than the average June temperature of 72.5 degrees, National Weather Service meteorologist Ron Steve said.

"We literally skipped right to June," Steve said. "We just got into a summer-time pattern prematurely. We didn't have strong enough winds in the jet stream to bring us the cold fronts we periodically still get in a typical May."

There were 24 days in May when the temperature reached at least 80 degrees, according to Steve.

In addition to having an unusually hot May, the month was one of the wettest on record with 7.45 inches of rain, WKYT chief meteorologist Chris Bailey said.

In an "amazing" statistic, Bailey also noted since 2012, Lexington has recorded the hottest February on record (and 2nd hottest), the hottest March on record, the hottest April on record and now the hottest May on record.

But 2018's temperatures were also made unusual by the cold. Prior to the hottest May on record, Lexington saw a March and April that were both colder than normal and received plenty of snow.

"The perception that we had no spring is in a lot of ways accurate," Steve said.

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National Weather Service

The National Weather Service projects the May heat wave will continue in June with the average temperature likely to be exceeded.

Above-normal temperatures in June will be a theme across most of the country except for the east coast, Steve said.

"As we look farther ahead into the summer, there is some evidence that it could break down to the point where the upper Midwest into Indiana and Ohio, and maybe down into Kentucky, could see an average summer," Steve added.

Oh, and that darn rain — it's not quite complete. The weather service expects an average June for precipitation until another spike in the back half of the month, much like May. Lexington typically receives around 4.4 inches of rain in June, Steve said.

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