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A hot and dry spring just isn't what the Northwest is used to. Even the slugs.

People take turns jumping from a cliff at Bellingham's Whatcom Falls Park in May. Signs warn of danger in jumping, but it's a popular place when the weather is hot.
People take turns jumping from a cliff at Bellingham's Whatcom Falls Park in May. Signs warn of danger in jumping, but it's a popular place when the weather is hot. eabell@bhamherald.com

With just a couple days left in the month, May 2018 is likely to enter the record books as the driest and one of the warmest months of May on record.

Long-range forecasts say the warm, dry trend may continue through June.

"I know my garden looks better than it ever has," said Mike McFarland of the National Weather Service in Seattle. "I've had to water it a few times, but I haven't seen any slugs in a few weeks."

No significant rain is in the forecast before Thursday, so McFarland said May 2018 is likely to remain in first place for the driest May since records were first kept in 1949 at Bellingham International Airport.

Only .17 inches of rain has fallen in May, compared with a normal May rainfall of 2.48 inches.

Most of that paltry amount fell in a three-day span of May 8-10. There's been nothing but a trace of rain since then.

Barring a stray squall, McFarland said May 1958 likely will fall to second place with .40 inches of rain.

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Figures from the NOAA Regional Climate Centers on May 29 show May 2018 in second place among lowest May rainfall on record. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald NOAA

Despite a parched May, the winter of 2017-2018 had so much snow that Whatcom County residents shouldn't worry too much about water, he said.

Overall, the North Cascades snowpack is showing a snow-water equivalent of 83 percent of normal, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service measurements.

McFarland said a NRCS measuring station at Wells Creek north of Mount Baker is showing 115 percent of normal.

"We had a good snowpack this year. The North Cascades are near normal," he said.

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Much of Washington state still has a heavy snowpack. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald NRCS

In terms of high temperatures, this May is the warmest in 60 years.

The average high of 67.4 degrees in May 2018 is in second place behind May 1958, when the average high temperature was 69.6.

Normal high temperature in May is 62.3 degrees.

McFarland said Bellingham is likely to see cooler temperatures through Thursday, ones closer to the seasonal norm.

"You might end up dropping to third or fourth, but I doubt that you'll go up," McFarland said.

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Figures from the NOAA Regional Climate Centers show May 2018 in second place on May 29 among warmest months of May on record. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald NOAA

Looking ahead to June, McFarland said the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is still showing a better than even chance of above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall.

Canadian weather service Environment Canada is making a similar prediction for British Columbia in June.

For the next week, however, McFarland said the forecast is looking more like a typical spring, with highs in the mid-60s and mostly cloudy skies with occasional showers.

With summer approaching, here are five of the best places to go for a swim in Whatcom County.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty
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