Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

April 1938: A dust bowl farmstead in Dallam County, Texas, showing the desolation produced by the dust and wind on the countryside adding to the problems of the depression in the USA. (Photo: Three Lions/Getty Images)

Shattering Mark Set During Dust Bowl, US Just Had Hottest May Ever Recorded

"If you thought it was a strangely warm May, you're right."

Jake Johnson

Surpassing a mark set during the peak of the Dust Bowl in 1934, the continental United States just had its hottest May on record thanks in large part to the human-caused climate crisis, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Wednesday.

"For May, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 65.4°F, 5.2°F above the 20th century average," NOAA observed in its breakdown of the new data. "The first five months of 2018 were marked by large month-to-month swings in temperature, but when averaged, the contiguous U.S. temperature was 45.0°F, 1.6°F above the 20th century average and was the 21st warmest January-May on record."

"The warmth was coast-to-coast," Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with NOAA's National Center for Environmental Information, said in an interview with USA Today.

While acknowledging that tropical storms—in addition to other "climate anomalies"—played a role in driving up May's average temperature, Crouch told USA Today that the man-made climate change contributed significantly the record-breaking heat.

In addition to surpassing the average temperature over the entirety of the month, May also saw "more than 8,590 daily warm temperature station records broken or tied," NOAA notes.

"This was 18 times more than the approximately 460 daily cold temperature station records during the month," NOAA found. "Several of the daily records were noteworthy, including 100°F on May 28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota—the earliest such occurrence on record."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Huge Step Forward': China Applauded for Pledge to Stop Building Overseas Coal Plants

"The writing is on the wall for coal power," said the president of upcoming climate summit COP26.

Julia Conley ·


Nearly 50 Groups Demand Passage of Amendments to Cut Pentagon Budget

"Pouring billions more into the military, far beyond even the level requested by President Biden, sends exactly the wrong message at this moment in history."

Andrea Germanos ·


'Enough Is Enough': Report Shows Big Oil's Offshore Tax Loopholes Cost US at Least $86 Billion Per Year

"We continue to bankroll the very fossil fuel companies responsible for the climate crisis, then wonder why our planet is on fire."

Kenny Stancil ·


Experts to Biden: Strongarm Big Pharma to Erase 'Moral Stain' of Vaccine Apartheid

"Every day that goes by, another roughly 10,000 people are lost to this disease—what are governments with the power to change this horrific statistic waiting for?"

Jake Johnson ·


'We Are Trying to Save It,' Progressives Say as Right-Wing Dems Sabotage Biden's Agenda

"The Biden agenda—our Democratic agenda—is at stake. It's progressives who are fighting to pass it in its entirety."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo