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Memorial Day Weather History/Extremes
Grand Island, NE

 

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, has been observed on the final Monday of May since 1971, and thus ranges in date from May 25th-31st (prior to 1971, Memorial Day was always observed May 30th).  In South Central Nebraska, late May weather conditions vary from spring-to-summer-like, and thunderstorms (sometimes severe) pay a semi-regular visit. The majority of Memorial Days across the local area feature high temperatures somewhere between the upper-60s and upper-80s, while morning lows usually dip between the mid-40s and low-60s.  However, in just the past 30 years, Memorial Day highs in Grand Island have ranged all the way from 56° to 99°! This story features a wealth of Memorial Day weather and climate information focused specifically on Grand Island, where weather records date back 124 years to 1896. 

Temperatures: According to the entire period of record, the hottest Memorial Day in Grand Island was 103° in 1934, and the coolest daytime high was 54° in 1915. As for low temperatures, the chilliest on record was 36° in 1947, and the mildest was 72° in 1934. Only 11 of the 124 Memorial Days on record (9%) have featured high temperatures of 90° or warmer (most recently in 2000). The most recent 100°+ Memorial Day was in 1989, and the most recent Memorial Day that failed to reach 60° was in 1997.

Rainfall: The wettest Memorial Day on record was 1935 with 2.97". Measurable rain (0.01 inch or more) has been recorded in 50 of the 124 years, or 40% of the time.  However, in recent years a somewhat rainy spell has developed, as 7 of the past 10 holidays have featured rain at some point during the calendar day. That being said, it's been 43 years now (1977) since 1" or more of rain fell at Central Nebraska Regional Airport.

The last time SEVERE thunderstorms directly affected the Grand Island area on Memorial Day was nine years ago on May 30, 2011, when an evening squall line produced a peak gust of 74 mph at the airport, resulting in several reports of tree and structural damage across town. Last year (May 27, 2019) featured a somewhat "close call" for Grand Island, as an evening severe storm dropped hail up to ping pong ball size in Kearney, but remained to the west of G.I.

 

** MEMORIAL DAY 2020 RECAP: Last year in 2020, Memorial Day (May 25) featured arguably the "crummiest" weather the holiday had seen in several years, both in terms of temperatures and precipitation. Details on both of these main topics follow...
- Rainfall: Although the vast majority of it fell before sunrise, the daily total of 1.60" at Central Nebraska Regional Airport resulted in the 3rd-wettest Memorial Day on record and the wettest since 1.73" in 1951! During the daylight hours, only around 0.10" of rain accumulated, but this pesky, chilly, off-and-on precipitation was enough to dampen outdoor activities. 

- Temperatures: Officially, the calendar-day high was a somewhat-respectable 64°, but marking the coolest Memorial Day high in 15 years. However, the "catch" is that this high occurred well-before sunrise. The majority of the daylight hours only featured readings in the mid-upper 50s, which teamed with off-and-on rain and north winds frequently gusting 15-25 MPH to put a definite chill in the air. 

Rainfall side-note: 
- The 1.60" of Memorial Day rain was the "grand finale" of a very wet five-day stretch, as the airport tallied a significant 6.82" between May 21-25. Parts of Hall and surrounding counties received closer to 10", promoting widespread (but mainly minor) flooding across the area. 

 

Grand Island NE Max Temperature Min Temperature Rainfall
30-Year Normals (1981-2010) 77° 54° 0.15"
10-Year Averages (2011-2020) 80.3° 57.8° 0.37"

 

 

Grand Island All-Time Memorial Day Records (Since 1896)
Hottest Memorial Day On Record (High Temp) 103° in 1934
Coolest Memorial Day On Record (High Temp) 54° in 1915
Coolest Low Temperature 36° in 1947
Warmest Low Temperature 72° in 1934
Wettest Memorial Day On Record 2.97" in 1935
 

 

Top 5 Hottest Highs Top 5 Coolest Lows Top 5 Wettest
103° (1934) 36° (1947) 2.97" (1935)
101° (1989) 38° (1897) 1.73" (1951)
99° (1994) 39° (1927) 1.60" (2020)
98° (1913) 40° (1930) 1.07" (1917)
97° (2000) 41° (1898) 1.04" (1948)
 

 

The Last Time _____ Happened On Memorial Day in Grand Island?
Last time 100+ degrees: 101° in 1989
Last time 90+ degrees:     97° in 2000
Last time high temp 65° or cooler:  64° in 2020
Last time low temp 45° or cooler:   45° in 2010
Last time low temp 65° or warmer: 65° in 2018
Last time measurable rain fell (0.01" or more): 1.60" in 2020 (mostly pre-sunrise)
Last time it rained at least 1":                         1.60" in 2020 (first time in 43 years!)


 In the past 30 years...

 - Since 1990, high temperatures on Memorial Day have ranged from 56° (1996) to 99° (1994)
 - Since 1990, low temperatures on Memorial Day have ranged from 42° (1992,1993) to 65° (2018)
 - Since 1990, the high on Memorial Day has reached 90° or higher only twice (1994, 2000)
 - Since 1990, the low temperature on Memorial Day has dipped below 45° only twice (1992, 1993)
 - Since 1990, measurable rain (0.01" or higher) has fallen 15 times (led by 0.84" in 2019)



Grand Island, Nebraska - Past 10 Year Summary
Memorial Day (2011-2020)

Date Max Temperature Min Temperature Precipitation Weather Conditions
5/30/2011 87° 56° 0.34  evening severe storms
5/28/2012 81° 57° 0.03  sunny day, rain pre-dawn
5/27/2013 79° 60° 0.34 mostly cloudy, rain pre-7AM
5/26/2014 89° 61° 0.00 mostly sunny, south breeze
5/25/2015 76° 55° 0.02 partly cloudy, rain 7-9 PM
5/30/2016 85° 59° 0.15 sunny day, storm at 11 PM
5/29/2017 76° 51° 0.00 sunny day, breezy from NW
5/28/2018 89° 65° 0.42 PM storms (mainly 3-5 PM)
5/27/2019 77° 59° 0.84 most rain/storms in early AM
5/25/2020 64° 55° 1.60 3rd-wettest on record!
5/31/2021        
10-Year Averages 80.3° 57.8°  0.37  

 

 

Past 10 Memorial Days Extremes: Grand Island, NE (2011-2020)
 
Warmest high temperature: 89° in 2018/2014
Coolest high temperature:   64° in 2020 (coolest Memorial Day since 2005) 
 
Coolest low temperature:   51° in 2017
Warmest low temperature: 65° in 2018
 
Highest Rainfall: 1.60" in 2020  (Measurable rain has fallen 8 of the past 10 years!)


For more climate related information, check out the following websites:

 

 



This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.

 
Last Updated For 2021: 5/27/2020 (but did not touch narrative or last 30 years)