May 2023 temperature outlook: Millions may break out short sleeves while others need to keep jackets handy

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center expects above-average warmth in the Northwest, New England and Florida while cooler-than-average temperatures are predicted in California, the Ohio Valley and parts of the South.

It’s still spring, but we’re rapidly approaching the dog days of summer. And while millions of Americans will likely be able to start breaking out the short sleeves this May, others will need to keep those jackets handy to keep warm during periods of below-average temperatures.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) recently released its temperature and precipitation outlooks for May 2023, and it’s looking like portions of the Northwest, Northeast and Southeast could see those above-average temperatures while areas along the West Coast and in the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi valleys could remain cooler than average.

Let's take a closer look at the May 2023 outlook.

May 2023 temperature outlook

The CPC is predicting that New England could be seeing warmer-than-average temperatures this May, with the highest likelihood in Maine and northern New England.

In the West, higher-than-average temperatures are predicted from Washington to Montana and Wyoming. The highest likelihood of where temperatures could be above average, according to the CPC, is in northern Idaho and western Montana.

Florida, too, is predicted to see warmer-than-average temperatures in May, with South Florida seeing higher chances of warm weather.

On the flip side, California and the Southwest could experience colder-than-average temperatures in May.

The CPC predicts Central and Southern California will have a higher chance of seeing cooler-than-average temperatures, as well as southwestern and southern Nevada and southwestern Arizona.

In the middle of the country, the CPC also predicts parts of the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi valleys could see below-average temperatures. Areas of the interior Southeast, too, could see cooler-than-average temperatures, according to the CPC. 

May 2023 precipitation outlook

Will you need to grab the sunscreen or the umbrella before heading out the door this May? It depends on where you live.

A large swath of the eastern U.S., High Plains, Rockies and Desert Southwest could see equal chances of wetter-than-average or drier-than-average conditions this May.

However, the CPC expects portions of the northern Plains, Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley to see drier-than-average conditions.

The areas where the CPC predicts a higher chance of drier conditions include locations near the Great Lakes from Minnesota to Ohio.

At the beginning of the year, the West Coast was slammed by a series of deadly and destructive atmospheric river storms, and the CPC is predicting the region could again see wetter-than-average conditions in May.

The South, too, could be wetter than average. The CPC forecasts areas from eastern Texas to the Gulf Coast and Southeast to see wet conditions in May.