A question we’ve gotten a lot of these past few weeks is, “Is this year as hot as last year?”
Most people seem to recall the temperatures were scorching by this point last year, while this year seems a bit more mild. But when you take a look at temperature records, you may find the answer surprising.
By the end of May last year, the ArkLaTex had seen 14 days with temperatures at 90 degrees or higher. The first scorcher was early in the spring, on April 10.
Now compare that to this year: Shreveport has gotten 13 days of 90-degree high temperatures. That’s a difference of just one day, although the heat got started about a month later than in 2011.
When you look at the month of May by itself, records show that we've actually had more 90-degree days this May than last. Shreveport has gotten 13 days of 90-degree heat this May compared to just 11 last May.
So what about the rain? People say they recall last May was drier than this one. But there’s another surprise here if you compare the records. We finished last May with 2.5 inches of rainfall for the month. This year, we got barely over an inch of rain for May.
While last May was wetter than this May, it’s important to consider that the spring as a whole has been wetter this year.
The area got nearly double the average monthly rainfall amount in March. About eight inches of rain came down this year, compared to less than two inches last March. April was also wetter this year with about 3.5 inches of rain, compared to last April’s 2.8 inches.
So are we in for another year of record-breaking heat and drought? Not necessarily. Long-range models still indicate this summer will be hotter than average, but rainfall amounts are expected to be near normal.
The bottom line: we’re slightly cooler this year than last year, but the difference is not substantial. And we’ve actually gotten much less rain this May than last May, but we’re in better shape if you look at rain for the entire spring.