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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Weathercatch: Why the month of May is like a party

The outdoors takes on a carnival atmosphere during the month of May. The photo was taken May 14 at Idaho Botanical Garden in Boise.  (Stephen Gregory)
The outdoors takes on a carnival atmosphere during the month of May. The photo was taken May 14 at Idaho Botanical Garden in Boise. (Stephen Gregory)
By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

During a Live at the Met performance in 1995, the late Robin Williams was musing over how the outside world seems to let loose at springtime. “It’s nature crying out, ‘Let’s party!’ ” he told the audience.

He probably had the month of May in mind.

The panorama of color on flowers and trees, the fragrance of lilac bushes, the chorus of songbirds, frogs and insects – the outdoors takes on a carnival atmosphere this month.

March weather is generally wily. April still feels tentative. May is a committed celebration.

A Gallup survey asked 1,000 Americans to name their favorite months of the year, May placed first. After all, what’s not to like?

The days grow longer as we inch toward summer. In the Inland Northwest, the amount of daylight increases by nearly 17 minutes each week.

What’s more, weather conditions are increasingly sunny and just plain pleasant.

In Spokane, the average daily high temperature rises 7 degrees, from 65 in early May to 72 on May 31. We also see an increase of 7 degrees in the average nightly low temperature.

Another plus is that our skin is less dry and itchy because there’s more humidity. Outdoors, warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Indoors, heating systems also dry out the air, but we rarely need to run them in May.

This May has been beautiful. Flowers seemed to spring up overnight, trees unfurled millions of leaves and sunny skies lifted temperatures into the 70s and low 80s.

A cold front that arrived Monday night of this week lowered the mercury to near 60 degrees and brought gusty winds and more cloud cover into Tuesday.

Parts of the Inland Northwest dipped to below freezing temperatures early Wednesday morning, but the chilliness didn’t linger. Cooler, yes, but still plenty comfortable. Save the heatwaves for July.

This week’s temperature shift brought a few scattered rain showers, though not widespread. Beyond this development, there’s no forecast yet for a good spring soaker to ease the growing risk of wildfires.

Considering that only 0.47 inches of rain fell during March and April and we received no measurable precipitation during the first half of May, we’re in need of some drenching downpours to end 2021’s unusual springtime dry streak.

In the meantime, we hope you can get out to enjoy the splurge of color, scents and sounds of May. It really is a party.


Nic Loyd is a meteorologist in Washington state. Linda Weiford is a writer in Moscow, Idaho, who’s also a weather geek. Contact:

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