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LA wraps up chilliest May in four decades

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The last time May temperatures were this cool, Star Wars was playing in theaters

The average high temperature in May was 69.8 degrees.
Mark Mainz/Getty Images

By LA standards, May was a chilly month indeed.

Unless today’s weather becomes exceptionally warm, the average high temperature for the month will be 69.8 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. In other words, on a typical day in May, the mercury in Downtown Los Angeles stayed below 70 degrees.

The last time that happened was May 1977, the same month that Star Wars premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Cooler May months were more common in Los Angeles during the 19th and early 20th centuries, based on historical data gathered by the Western Regional Climate Center. But in the last 100 years, May’s average high temperature has been under 70 degrees just seven times.

Weather Service hydrologist Jayme Laber tells Curbed that the jet streams that brought rainy weather to much of California in the last month may have also kept temperatures down.

“It’s not unusual to get rain this month, but we had a wet May that we haven’t seen in a while,” he says.

Stormy weather also contributed to a particularly cold February in which the temperature in Downtown LA didn’t once climb above 70 degrees.

May was warmer than that, and the average low temperature of 56.7 degrees was closer to what the area has seen in typical years.

The chilliest average low ever recorded in May was 50.1 degrees, all the way back in 1879. The warmest average high, meanwhile, was 82.2 degrees in the steamy May of 1984, as Los Angeles prepared for the Summer Olympics.

Cool temperatures are expected to persist into the start of June. The weather service projects cloudy weather this weekend, with possible showers and thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday in the mountains.

In Downtown LA, expect fog and temperatures in the 60s and very low 70s.