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Scorching May

Posted on May 22, 2015

The first half of the month of May 2015 was a quietly scorching one, with the heat turned all the way up in the Northeast. You may not believe it based on the outdoor feel of our day to day weather, but the entire region was far warmer than usual. While we did not have the extreme highs or actual heat waves, a stretch or days well into the 90s or anything particularly memorable, we have been consistently warmer than average for our highs and often above the long-term lows. The Northeast Regional Climate Center map here shows us the tale.


The coolest part has been sections of Maine which were only 0-2 degrees above long-term averages. The Chautauqua-Allegheny region was 6-8 or 8+ degrees over normal! Fortunately for local areas near us at RTPI in Jamestown, New York we received a good deal of precipitation to offset the temperature departure, keeping all of our incredibly rich and valuable waterways filled for amphibians, reptiles, insects, birds and more. However, much of the Northeast was as dry as that old bone.


Roger Tory Peterson’s home in Connecticut was staggeringly dry, and desert-like conditions ruled over much of the near Atlantic Coast in New England and New York. That did not help vernal pools where frog and salamander egg masses are being dried out or streams and ponds that dragonflies and damselflies are emerging from, feeding in and eventually breeding in once again.

We cannot make the climate a perfect balance, but it would be a lot more helpful to wildlife and our environment if it evened things out a little. After a historically frigid and wet winter the same areas are seeing the opposite conditions now, and while it may end up restoring some balance to the overall meteorological year, the order of events we took to get here makes it very tough on all the life. We will see how May ends and if we hopefully enter more of a typical pattern.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator