Alpena area saw warmer May; warm, dry weather to stick around

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Noah Markowski, left, and Jameson Ludlow splash around on the water at Starlite Beach on Thursday. The two boys are fifth grade students at Ella White Elementary School and on a field trip to the park. The beach should remain a popular place for people to visit for the next week or so, as weather is expected to remain warm and dry.

ALPENA — Rain was in short supply in the Alpena area in May and that trend is likely to remain for the next several weeks.

Meteorologists for the National Weather Service say it could be two to three weeks before any significant rain falls in Alpena.

Last month saw warmer than average high temperatures during the day, but cooler nights, before summer-like weather appeared during the last week of the month.

In May, the average high temperature was 67.2 degrees, which eclipsed the long-term average of 65.8 degrees. The thermometer peaked out at 90 degrees on May 31.

Even though daylight hours extended in May, once the sun began to set and nightfall rolled in, the air cooled dramatically last month. The average low temperature was 39 degrees, which was below the long-term average of 40.9 degrees. The coldest day of May was recorded in the early morning hours of May 15 when the mercury dropped to 26 degrees.

In April, the average rainfall was about two inches above the norm, but last month, Alpena received less than an inch, 0.92 inches. That total was nearly two inches below the long-term average of 2.78 inches.

The current warm weather, coupled with dry conditions, have already led to grass and people’s yards turning brown, and gardens that require property owners to water them frequently.

Meteorologist Harold Dipperman, said a dry system with warm air moved into Michigan the last week of May and will remain for some time. He said a slight cold front will move into northern Michigan next week, which will cool temperatures into the low to mid 70s, but it is unlikely to bring precipitation with it. Dippman said there is a slight chance of unexpected thunderstorms, but they will be far and few in-between, if they develop at all.

“It is a pretty consistent pattern and there is no signal that it is going to break down anytime soon,” he said. “Pop-up thunderstorms are possible, but only the lucky will get them and it will be the luck of the draw where they pop up.”

Dippman said his interpretation of weather prediction models shows Alpena may not receive any significant rain for two to three weeks. He said if that proves to be the case, the area could be tagged with a drought designation from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

It is in the realm of possibility for sure,” Dippman said. “Things have dried up very quickly and without any precipitation I don’t see that changing and only get worse.”

The lack of rain and high temperatures could increase the likelihood of fire sparking and spreading and people need to be wary of red-flag warnings that forbid burning


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