National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

This May was generally quiet but was punctuated with significant instances of severe weather and, especially, devastating local flooding.

On May 19 severe storms developed over southern Indiana and north central Kentucky. After several reports of large hail and strong winds, not to mention a small tornado in Crawford County, attention turned to the torrential rains falling from the strongest cells. In particular, 4 to 6 inches of rain fell on Salem, Indiana in a few hours. Severe flooding resulted in town and led to a Flash Flood Emergency. The west fork of the Blue River soared to about 3.5 above the old record stage at Salem.

Additional thunderstorms fired the following day, one of which produced a brief tornado just northwest of Madison, Indiana. 

The most widespread severe weather event of the month struck on the 27th. Storms developed in conjunction with an east-west frontal boundary laying across Kentucky. Many reports of hail and high winds were received, but once again flooding took center stage. Very heavy rains doused Taylor and Casey Counties, leading to a Flash Flood Emergency for the Campbellsville and Liberty areas where water rescues were necessary. Three to five inches of rain (possibly more in a few spots) fell. 

Precipitation was not evenly distributed across the area. While southern Indiana and southeastern sections of central Kentucky were very wet, locations in the Blue Grass and north central parts of Kentucky were actually slightly drier than normal.

Temperatures during the month didn't stray too far from normal with the exception of a cool snap from the 3rd to the 8th. Lexington's temperature dropped into the middle 30s on the 7th and 8th while the usual cold spots in the Blue Grass, like Cynthiana, briefly dipped below freezing.

  Average Temperature Departure from Normal Rain Departure from Normal
Bowling Green 67.9° +1.5° 5.35" -0.26"
Frankfort 65.3° +1.4° 5.95" +1.10"
Lexington 65.5° +1.2° 5.64" +0.38"
Louisville Bowman 67.0° +0.7° 4.85" -0.27"
Louisville International 67.9° +0.8° 4.74" -0.53"



5th: Cold high of 56° at Bowling Green
11th: Warm low of 69° at Bowling Green, rainfall of 1.49" at Frankfort
18th: Warm low of 72° at Bowling Green, warm low of 70° at Lexington, warm low of 74° at Louisville

Severe flooding in Salem on the 19th. Photo: Stephanie McCutcheon