Weekend Weather Wows: We've found America's worst place to daydream

If sitting on a grassy hill under a tree and letting your imagination run wild as puffy clouds float by is your thing... here's a spot to avoid.

It was the sunniest of times; it was the cloudiest of times.

Welcome to our weekly feature, "Weekend Weather Wows," where we'll go back and find the most exciting tidbits of weather you might have missed over the past week, so you'll be ready to impress at the water cooler (or virtual water cooler) come Monday.

‘Orange’ you glad you had sunshine in May?

I've spent the past two weekends highlighting just how cloudy Southern California has been these past several weeks. San Diego was the cloudiest city in the Lower 48 in May, and Los Angeles went nearly two straight weeks of overcast. But what about the flip side?

Alaska Climatologist Brian Brettschneider calculated the data and found that while indeed coastal Southern California had its cloudiest May on record as far as lack of solar energy; the Northeast had among their sunniest if not their sunniest May on record by the ECMWF's analysis of solar energy received:


That includes New York and Boston along with much of New England. Even Buffalo was Top 5, if not Top 2.

New York City had only 21.9% average cloud cover for the month as measured by the weather station data at Central Park – the third-sunniest since 2006.

Then June arrived, and thunderstorms hit Quebec and lighted some fires and the smoke came and the sun went away. The orange is gone, but the gray will be around a bit.

Cloud computing takes a hit this spring in California deserts

On the other hand, there's Palm Springs, California: America's worst place to daydream. No sitting in a grassy field under a palm tree staring wistfully at passing clouds the sky while pondering their shapes this spring.

In the 70 days since April 1, Palm Springs has seen clouds on two days – and just for a few hours' each day at that. 

They last saw a cloud 20 days ago – or at least their weather station has reported 0% cloud cover each day since May 20 and on nearly every other day since April 1.  Yes, it's in the desert, but that's just 140 miles from May cloud champ San Diego.


While daydreaming might be out for Palm Springs this spring, poolside hangouts and frequent golf excursions are still recommended. 

Weather pattern shift leads to big electrical outages in the Midwest

In between the coastal cloud conundrums, thunderstorm clouds took a bit of a breather in May as well.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center marveled at how May nearly set records for lack of severe weather events., despite May being peak time for Midwestern Meteorological Mayhem.

Some of their highlights:

  • 2023 was the fourth-consecutive May without a violent tornado (EF-4 or EF-5) and second consecutive May without a tornado rated EF-3 or higher.
  • The U.S. had 2,360 preliminary severe weather spotter reports in May, which sounds like a lot but is actually the fewest on record since such stats were tracked in 2004.
  • 11 states had zero severe weather reports, including Pennsylvania, which was their first time since 1959.  New York hadn't gone without since 1989.
  • The combined 66 Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches was the second-fewest since 1979 (44).
  • The 13 Tornado Watches were the third-fewest in May since 1970.
  • Only the second May where the SPC didn't issue a Level 4 or 5 severe weather risk zone forecast.

Idaho attempts winter encore in June

No, that wasn't snow turning Idaho's Highway 20 white Thursday, it was hail, and a lot of it.

The National Weather Service in Pocatello, Idaho said a strong thunderstorm not only dropped 2 to 4 inches of hail, but the temperature plummeted from 81 to 45 in 10 minutes By average temperature, that's like going from June 23 weather to Nov. 17 weather in the blink of an eye. 

Oklahoma City joins the 90s

Usually, Oklahoma City reaches its first 90-degree day on May 8, but had yet to reach the mark by June 8.

Meanwhile usually cooler spots in the North such as Forks, Washington, Fargo, North Dakota, Marquette, Michigan and Caribou, Maine had already hit 90.

Welcome to the club, OKC! The city finally reached 90 on Friday.

Other Weather Wow-y Tidbits:

  • Denver had 8.05 inches of rain in the past two months between April 4 and June 4 is their wettest on record.
  • Just over in Salt Lake City, 1.07 inches of rain in the same period is their second-driest. They are just 500 miles apart.
  • Before the smoke arrived in the Northeast, it was quite chilly. The average temperature of 48.3 degrees in Portland, Maine between June 4-5 was the coldest June 4-5 on record.
  • Ever wonder how they service buoys out at sea? Wonder no more.

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