May has been a month of extreme weather around the world

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Mother Nature Crammed a Bunch of Nasty Weather Into This May


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even for a world getting used to wild weather, May seems stuck on strange.

Torrential downpours in Texas that have whiplashed the region from drought to flooding. A heat wave that has killed more than 1,800 people in India. Record 91-degree readings in Alaska, of all places. A pair of top-of-the-scale typhoons in the Northwest Pacific. And a drought taking hold in the East.

"Mother Nature keeps throwing us crazy stuff," Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis says. "It's just been one thing after another."

Jerry Meehl, an extreme-weather expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, points out that May is usually a pretty extreme month, with lots of tornadoes and downpours. Even so, he says, this has been "kind of unusually intense."

The word "stuck" provides one possible explanation.

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Texas and mexican border , Oklahoma flooding - severe weather 5/25 (AP Exchange)
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May has been a month of extreme weather around the world
A house built on tall piers is surrounded by flood water from the San Jacinto River Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Kingwood, Texas. Although the deadly thunderstorms that lashed much of Texas have tapered off, many cities were still in danger of flooding Thursday as heavy rain from earlier in the week poured downstream, swelling rivers. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 27: The Brays Bayou flows after massive flooding May 27, 2015 in Houston, Texas. At least 19 people have been killed across Texas and Oklahoma after severe weather, including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes, struck over the past several days, with more rain expected. (Photo by Eric Kayne/Getty Images)
MIDLOTHIAN, TX - MAY 27: Workers tend to equipment used to pump water from Padera Lake as water pours over a temporary dam on May 27, 2015 in Midlothian, Texas. Officials feared that the temporary dam on Padera Lake would fail due to recent heavy rains in the area. Areas throughout Texas have expierenced flash flooding and numerous deaths due to weeks of heavy rainfall. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, TX - MAY 27: Storm destruction along the Blanco River May 26, 2015 in San Marcos, Texas. Central Texas has been inundated with tornadoes and flash flooding the past several days. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, TX - MAY 27: Storm destruction along the Blanco River May 27, 2015 in San Marcos, Texas. Central Texas has been inundated with tornadoes and flash flooding the past several days. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 27: Trees are submerged at Buffalo Bayou park after massive flooding May 27, 2015 in Houston, Texas. At least 19 people have been killed across Texas and Oklahoma after severe weather, including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes, struck over the past several days, with more rain expected. (Photo by Eric Kayne/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 27: Diego Singleton's vehicle sits on Allen Parkway, the last remaining vehicle to be towed from underneath the Montrose Blvd. overpass following massive flooding May 27, 2015 in Houston, Texas. At least 19 people have been killed across Texas and Oklahoma after severe weather, including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes, struck over the past several days, with more rain expected. (Photo by Eric Kayne/Getty Images)
A man walks along the Blanco River where sweeping flood waters overturned vehicles and knocked down trees, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Wimberley, Texas. Authorities say recovery teams will resume looking for missing people in an area where punishing rains have destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 homes statewide. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Keith McNabb looks at the damage to his friend Mike Cook's house on Stone Canyon Street on the banks of the Blanco River near Wimberley, Texas on Sunday May 24, 2015. Flooding in Texas and Oklahoma has led to numerous evacuations. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP) 
Domingo Molina, right, paddles with his granddaughters Crystal, left, and Alicia, center, down a flooded street in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
WIMBERLEY, TX - MAY 26: A house near the Blanco River sustained heavy damage May 26, 2015 in Wimberley, Texas. Central Texas has been hit with severe weather, including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes over the past several days. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
WIMBERLEY, TX - MAY 26: Debris is collected in front of Rio Bonito Resort May 26, 2015 in Wimberley, Texas. Central Texas has been hit with severe weather, including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes over the past several days. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
WIMBERLEY, TX - MAY 26: Faculty and volunteers organize flood relief supplies at Wimberley High School May 26, 2015 in Wimberley, Texas. Central Texas has been hit with severe weather, including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes over the past several days. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
WIMBERLEY, TX - MAY 26: Clothes and other flood relief supplies are gathered at Wimberley High School May 26, 2015 in Wimberley, Texas. Central Texas has been hit with severe weather, including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes over the past several days. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
Vehicles left stranded on a flooded Interstate 45 in Houston, Texas on May 26, 2015. Heavy rains throught Texas put the city of Houston under massive ammounts of water, closing roadways and trapping residents in their cars and buildings, according to local reports. Rainfall reached up to 11 inches(27.9cm) in some parts of the state, national forecasters reported, and the heavy rains quickly pooled over the state's already saturated soil. AFP PHOTO/AARON M. SPRECHER (Photo credit should read Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
Water is seen along Memorial Drive in Houston, Texas, on May 26, 2015. Heavy rains throught Texas put the city of Houston under massive amounts of water, closing roadways and trapping residents in their cars and buildings, according to local reports. Rainfall reached up to 11 inches (27.9cm) in some parts of the state, according to national forecasters, and the heavy rains quickly pooled over the state's already saturated soil. AFP PHOTO/AARON M. SPRECHER (Photo credit should read Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 25: Murphy Canning and Annika Rolston watch as a street remains underwater from days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
WIMBERLEY, TX - MAY 26: Debris is collected in front of Rio Bonito Resort May 26, 2015 in Wimberley, Texas. Central Texas has been hit with severe weather, including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes over the past several days. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
People stand near damaged homes and vehicles after a powerful tornado swept past in Ciudad Acuna, northern Mexico, Monday, May 25, 2015. A tornado raged through the city on the U.S.-Mexico border Monday, destroying homes and flinging cars like matchsticks. At least 13 people were killed, authorities said. The twister hit a seven-block area, which Victor Zamora, interior secretary of the northern state of Coahuila, described as "devastated." (AP Photo)
Damaged homes stand next to others that were razed when a powerful tornado touched down in Ciudad Acuna, northern Mexico, Monday, May 25, 2015. The tornado raged through the city on the U.S.-Mexico border Monday, destroying homes and flinging cars like matchsticks. At least 13 people were killed, authorities said. The twister hit a seven-block area, which Victor Zamora, interior secretary of the northern state of Coahuila, described as "devastated." (AP Photo)
Cars sit in floodwaters along Interstate 45 after heavy overnight rain flooded parts of the highway in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Several major highways in the Houston area are closed due to high water. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
A man walks past a cabin that was torn from its foundation in a flood on the Blanco River days earlier, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Wimberley, Texas. Recovery teams were searching for as many as 12 members of two families who are missing after the rain-swollen river in central Texas carried a vacation home off its foundation, slamming it into a bridge downstream. The hunt for the missing picked up after a holiday weekend of terrible storms that dumped record rainfall on the Plains and Midwest, caused major flooding and spawned tornadoes and killed at least eight people in Oklahoma and Texas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Domingo Molina, right, paddles with his granddaughters Crystal, left, and Alicia, center, down a flooded street in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
A vehicle left stranded on a flooded Interstate 45 in Houston, Texas on May 26, 2015. Heavy rains throught Texas put the city of Houston under massive ammounts of water, closing roadways and trapping residents in their cars and buildings, according to local reports. Rainfall reached up to 11 inches(27.9cm) in some parts of the state, national forecasters reported, and the heavy rains quickly pooled over the state's already saturated soil. AFP PHOTO/AARON M. SPRECHER (Photo credit should read Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
Gabby Aviles carries her daughter Audrey through floodwaters outside their apartment in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rains overnight caused flooding in the Houston area. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David McGinnis helps cleanup debris at a home that was flooded along the Blanco River, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Wimberley, Texas. Authorities say recovery teams will resume looking for as many as a dozen missing people, in an area where punishing rains have destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 homes and killed at least three people statewide this weekend. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Mark Taylor rides his bike through the flooded street in front of his house in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Water is seen at the top of a sign along a bike path near Memorial Drive in Houston, Texas on May 26, 2015. Heavy rains throught Texas put the city of Houston under massive amounts of water, closing roadways and trapping residents in their cars and buildings, according to local reports. Rainfall reached up to 11 inches (27.9cm) in some parts of the state, according to national forecasters, and the heavy rains quickly pooled over the state's already saturated soil. AFP PHOTO/AARON M. SPRECHER (Photo credit should read Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
Robert Briscoe removes a suitcase from his flooded car along Interstate 45 in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Overnight heavy rains caused flooding, closing some portions of major highways in the Houston area. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Rescue personnel grab the the hand of a man stranded in rushing water at the northwest corner of Lamar Blvd. and 15th St. in Austin, Texas. Shoal Creek overflowed its banks and inundated the major traffic artery with rushing water. Several cars were stalled under and near the 15th St. bridge Monday, May 25, 2015. (Alberto Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Vehicles are left stranded on Texas State Highway 288 in Houston, Texas on May 26, 2015. Heavy rains throught Texas put the city of Houston under massive amounts of water, closing roadways and trapping residents in their cars and buildings, according to local reports. Rainfall reached up to 11 inches (27.9cm) in some parts of the state, according to national forecasters, and the heavy rains quickly pooled over the state's already saturated soil. AFP PHOTO/AARON M. SPRECHER (Photo credit should read Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 25: Parts of the city are shown inundated after days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 25: Rising floodwaters at Shoal Creek are shown after days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)

Rescue personnel from the Austin Fire Dept. bring a man to safety after he became trapped by rushing water at House Park. Shoal Creek overflowed its banks and transformed Lamar Blvd into a rushing torrent of muddy water. Several cars were stranded along the normally busy street Monday, May 25, 2015. (Alberto Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

AUSTIN, TX - MAY 25: Parts of the city are shown inundated after days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
Shelly Guzal and her son, Grant, 17, stand by the Blanco River by where an A-frame house owned by the Carey family once stood in Wimberley, Texas, Monday, May 25, 2015. Corpus Christi resident Jonathan McComb, 36, and his family were guest in the house when it was swept away by floodwaters Saturday night. McComb was able to escape but his wife, Laura, 33, and their children, Leighton, 4 and Andrew, 6, are missing. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 25: The flooded Whole Earth Provisions Company on Lamar Street is shown after days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 25: Ben Sioberman works to get water out of the flooded Whole Earth Provisions Company on Lamar Street after days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 25: Parts of the city are shown inundated after days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 25: Tape is stretched across a flooded Sixth Street after days of heavy rain on May 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
WIMBERLEY, TX - MAY 25: A vehicle travels Ranch to Market Road 150 on May 25, 2015 outside Wimberly, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
Leaves and branches are scattered throughout a flooded yard after a roof collapsed during a morning storm Sunday, May 24, 2015 in Houston at the Rockport Apartment Homes on S. Gessner. (Eric Kayne/Houston Chronicle via AP)
DPS Trooper Marcus Gonzales walks on the Hwy 12 bridge over the Blanco River in Wimberley, Texas, Sunday May 24, 2015. Flooding in Texas and Oklahoma has led to numerous evacuations. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP) 
George and Susan Kruger make one of three trips with their animals from their flooded house to safety on Sunday, May 24, 2015 in Purcell, Okla. Rising water from overnight rains began to rise early in the morning. The Krugers refused to leave their home and made several trips to retrieve five dogs and a baby chick. (Steve Sisney/The Oklahoman via AP) 
Gordon Welch surveys damage to the house his family has owned since 1964 along River Road next to the Blanco River in Wimberley, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Welch said that he and his wife watched the house get swept away by flood water. (Kelly West/Austin American-Statesman via AP) 
A home on the Blanco River was taken off its foundation after heavy overnight rain caused flash flooding in Wimberley, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
In this aerial photo an Army black hawk helicopter flies over the town of Martindale, Texas, near the San Marcos River, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP) 
Michael Williams uses a kayak to retrieve valuables from his mother Karleen Shaw's house on Sunday, May 24, 2015 in Lexington Okla. Williams forced his mother from the house Saturday night after the water level got waist high. (Steve Sisney/The Oklahoman via AP) 
Amy Schmitt walks through her flood-damaged patio Sunday May 24, 2015, in San Marcos, Texas. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Erika Rich/Austin American-Statesman via AP) 
Heather Williams and Jayden Martinez Corpus, 12, assist the Villegas family in clearing flood-damaged furniture from their home Sunday May 24, 2015, in San Marcos, Texas. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Erika Rich/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Kino Rodriguez, 8, left, and Israel Rodriguez, 7, sit outside their families flood-damaged home and discuss their experiences with the flooding from the night before on Sunday May 24, 2015, in San Marcos, Texas. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Erika Rich/Austin American-Statesman via AP) 
This aerial photo shows a home along the Blanco River that was taken off its foundation after rain caused flash flooding in Wimberley, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Mike Graf, left, with the help of Ralph Kennedy, salvages some of his belongings in a neighbor's yard near Wimberley, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. About 350 homes in the town of Wimberley were washed away by flash floods along the Blanco River, which rose 26 feet in just one hour and left piles of wreckage 20 feet high, Texas authorities said. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Edgar Mascorro, left, and Emir Nevarez check out the damage on the rooftop at the Silver Springs Apartments in North Austin, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Magdiel Paz trims damage trees at the Silver Springs Apartments in North Austin, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
In this aerial photo a barn with a Texas flag painted on its roof is surrounded by water near Martindale, Texas, after the San Marcos River flooded, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP) 
In this aerial photo a parking lot of Wal-Mart is submerged after the San Marcos River flooded in San Marcos, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
People walk by a damaged roof at the Silver Springs Apartments in North Austin, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Carlos and Candy Cortez, comfort each other in the Redbird Aviation Terminal in San Marcos, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015, after they, their three children and one of their dogs were rescued from the roof of their San Marcos home by an Army helicopter after the Blanco River flooded. Their son A.J. Cortez, 6, lies on the couch next to them. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
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Francis, Meehl and some other meteorologists say the jet stream is in a rut, not moving nasty weather along. The high-speed, constantly shifting river of air 30,000 feet above Earth normally guides storms around the globe, but sometimes splits and comes back together somewhere else.

A stuck jet stream, with a bit of a split, explains the extremes in Texas, India, Alaska and the U.S. East, but not the typhoons, Francis says.

Other possible factors contributing to May's wild weather: the periodic warming of the central Pacific known as El Nino, climate change and natural variability, scientists say.

Texas this month has received a record statewide average of 8 inches of rain and counting. Some parts of the Lone Star State and Oklahoma have gotten more than a foot and a half since May 1. The two states have gone from exceptional drought to flooding in just four weeks.

Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon attributes the heavy rainfall to an unusually southern fork in the jet stream, a stuck stationary front and El Nino, and says the downpours have probably been made slightly worse by climate change.

For every degree Celsius the air is warmer, it can hold 7 percent more moisture. That, Nielsen-Gammon says, "is supplying more juice to the event."

While it is too early to connect one single event to man-made warming, scientific literature shows "that when it rains hard, it rains harder than it did 20 to 30 years ago," says University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd.

As bad as the Texas flooding has been, the heat wave in India has been far worse - in fact, the world's fifth-deadliest since 1900, with reports of the 100-degree-plus heat even buckling roads. And it's a consequence of the stuck jet stream, according to Francis and Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters.

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India heat wave, summer temperatures
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May has been a month of extreme weather around the world
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MAY 24: A road melt near Safdarjung Hospital after the Temperature rise to 45 degree Celsius during a hot weather as Delhi/NCR experienced yet another scorching day, on May 24, 2015 in New Delhi, India. The national capital sizzling today as heat wave-like conditions prevailed across the city with mercury hovering above 45.3 degree Celsius, making life tough for the Delhiites. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
An Indian man rests inside a concrete pipe on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Hundreds of people have died in southern India since the middle of April as soaring summer temperatures scorch the country, officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
An Indian boy carries a bottle filled with cold water as he goes to a market on a hot day in New Delhi, India, Monday, May 18, 2015. Intense heat-wave continues to grip several parts of north India with most of the cities crossing 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) mark. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
Indian boys cool themselves at a fountain on a hot day in New Delhi, India, Monday, May 18, 2015. Intense heat-wave continues to grip several parts of north India with most of the cities crossing 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) mark. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
An Indian drinks water from a bottle on a hot summer day in Allahabad, India, Sunday, May 31, 2015. Heat-related conditions, including dehydration and heat stroke, have killed more than 2,000 people since mid-April in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, according to state officials. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
FILE - In this Sunday, May 31, 2015 file photo, an Indian man rests in front of an air cooler to cool himself on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Telangana. Isolated thundershowers have failed to break a raging heat wave in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, claiming dozens of lives over the weekend and raising the overall death toll to more than 2,000 since mid-April. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A., File)
An Indian man takes a nap inside a car on a hot summer day in Ahmadabad, India, Friday, May 29, 2015. Dizzying temperatures caused water shortages in thousands of Indian villages and killed hundreds more people over the past day, driving the death toll from a weeks long heat wave to more than 1,000, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An Indian vendor sleeps under a temporary shed on a hot summer day on the outskirts of Jammu, India, Friday, May 29, 2015. Dizzying temperatures caused water shortages in thousands of Indian villages and killed hundreds more people over the past day, driving the death toll from a weeks long heat wave to more than 1,000, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
An Indian boy drinks water collected from a government water supply tap at an impoverished settlement on a hot summer day in Bhubaneswar, India, Saturday, May 30, 2015. Heat-related conditions, including dehydration and heat stroke, have killed more than 1,000 people in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and hundreds in Telangana since mid-April, according to state officials. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
An Indian boy drinks water collected from a government water supply tap at an impoverished settlement on a hot summer day in Bhubaneswar, India, Saturday, May 30, 2015. Heat-related conditions, including dehydration and heat stroke, have killed more than 1,000 people in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and hundreds in Telangana since mid-April, according to state officials. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
Indian children share an umbrella on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, May 24, 2015. About 230 people have died since mid-April in a heat wave sweeping two southeast Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, officials said Saturday. Day temperatures in Telangana's Khammam district soared to more than 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit) on Saturday. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MAY 24: Heat rippled mirage was seen at Rajpath during a hot weather as Delhi/NCR experienced yet another scorching day, on May 24, 2015 in New Delhi, India. The national capital sizzling today as heat wave-like conditions prevailed across the city with mercury hovering above 45.3 degree Celsius, making life tough for the Delhiites. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Indian rickshaw pullers sleep in their rickshaws on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 21, 2015. Most parts of northern India are reeling under heat wave conditions with the mercury expected to soar above 43 degree Celsius, or 111 degrees Fahrenheit, according to local reports. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An Indian man rests on the sacks of vegetables on a hot day at a wholesale market in Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. For last few days, Gujarat, the western Indian state of India, has been in the grip of extreme heat-wave with temperature shooting up to 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) throwing life out of gear. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An Indian man swims in the River Yamuna on a hot summer day in Allahabad, India, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Hundreds of people have died in southern India since the middle of April as soaring summer temperatures scorch the country, officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
An Indian boy takes a bath at a fountain at India Gate in New Delhi on May 26, 2015. At least 800 people have died in a major heatwave that has swept across India, melting roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). AFP PHOTO / Chandan KHANNA (Photo credit should read Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian coconut seller sleeps on his pushcart under the shade of a tree on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Heat wave has tightened its grip over most parts of the country. More than 200 people have died since mid-April in a heat wave sweeping two southeast Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
Indian motorcyclists use scarves to protect themselves from the heat in Amritsar on May 26, 2015. At least 800 people have died in a major heatwave that has swept across India, melting roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). AFP PHOTO/NARINDER NANU (Photo credit should read NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)
Pigeons fly over a traffic signal near the Indian Presidential Palace during a brief dust storm in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Heat wave continued in many parts of northern Indian even as capital Delhi witnessed a brief storm on Tuesday bringing temporary relief from the heat. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
An Indian policeman stands in the shade at the Indian Defence Ministry in New Delhi on May 26, 2015. Large parts of India, including national capital New Delhi, have endured days of sweltering heat, prompting fears of power cuts. But the highest temperatures have been recorded in Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state. AFP PHOTO / Chandan KHANNA (Photo credit should read Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian fishermen catch fish in a shrunken pond in the village of Phaphamau on the outskirts of Allahabad on May 26, 2015. At least 800 people have died in a major heatwave that has swept across India, melting roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). AFP PHOTO/SANJAY KANOJIA (Photo credit should read Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian auto rickshaw driver rests on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, India, Monday, May 25, 2015. Hundreds of people have died since mid-April in a heat wave sweeping two southeast Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
An Indian child cools off in a pond near India Gate amid soaring temperatures in New Delhi on May 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian girls shield themselves with scarves as they ride a motorcycle on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Hundreds of people have died in southern India since the middle of April as soaring summer temperatures scorch the country, officials said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
An Indian man covers his face as drives on a scooter under the hot sun in Hyderabad on May 26, 2015. More than 430 people have died in two Indian states from a days-long heatwave that has seen temperatures nudging 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), officials said May 25. Officials warned the toll was almost certain to rise, with figures still being collected in some parts of the hard-hit Telangana state in the south of the country, and with no end in sight to the searing conditions AFPHOTO/ Noah SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian passenger takes a bath beside rail tracks on a hot summer day at a railway station in Jammu, India, Monday, May 25, 2015. Severe heat wave conditions continue to prevail at several places in northern India with temperatures reaching 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Indian vendors selling onions rest on a sidewalk under the shade of a tree on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, India, Monday, May 25, 2015. Hundreds of people have died since mid-April in a heat wave sweeping two southeast Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
An Indian man wipes sweat off his face on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Heat wave has tightened its grip over most parts of the country. More than 200 people have died since mid-April in a heat wave sweeping two southeast Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
An Indian man takes his buffaloes for a bath to provide relief from the heat at a pond in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, May 24, 2015. About 230 people have died since mid-April in a heat wave sweeping two southeast Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, officials said Saturday. Day temperatures in Telangana's Khammam district soared to more than 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit) on Saturday. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
An Indian man takes a nap inside a car on a hot summer day in Ahmadabad, India, Friday, May 29, 2015. Dizzying temperatures caused water shortages in thousands of Indian villages and killed hundreds more people over the past day, driving the death toll from a weeks long heat wave to more than 1,000, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Indian men cover their head with handkerchief as they walks in the rain at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad, India, Friday, May 29, 2015. According to weather reports, the heat wave scorching vast parts of the country would continue for a few more days though cloudy skies and sporadic showers have brought relief to the people in some states. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
An Indian vendor sleeps under a temporary shed on a hot summer day on the outskirts of Jammu, India, Friday, May 29, 2015. Dizzying temperatures caused water shortages in thousands of Indian villages and killed hundreds more people over the past day, driving the death toll from a weeks long heat wave to more than 1,000, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
An Indian man enjoys high tide waves at the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai, India, Friday, May 29, 2015. Dizzying temperatures caused water shortages in thousands of Indian villages and killed hundreds more people over the past day, driving the death toll from a weeks long heat wave to more than 1,000, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
An Indian man drinks water from a bottle as he quenches thirst to beat the scorching heat in Ahmadabad, India, Friday, May 29, 2015. Dizzying temperatures caused water shortages in thousands of Indian villages and killed hundreds more people over the past day, driving the death toll from a weeks long heat wave to more than 1,000, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Salesboys sit in a shop selling air coolers on a hot summer day in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, May 28, 2015. Eating onions, lying in the shade and splashing into rivers, Indians were doing whatever they could Thursday to stay cool during a brutal heat wave that has killed more than 1,000 in the past month. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
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When climate scientists look at what caused extreme events - a complex and time-consuming process that hasn't been done yet - heat waves are the ones most definitely connected to global warming, Shepherd says.

The stuck jet stream has kept Alaska on bake, with the town of Eagle hitting 91, the earliest Alaska has had a temperature pushing past 90, Masters says.

And on the other end of the country, New York; Boston; Hartford, Connecticut; Albany, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; and Concord, New Hampshire, all have received less than an inch of rain this month and are flirting with setting monthly records for drought, he says.

El Nino is known to change the weather worldwide, often making things more extreme. This El Nino is itself weird. It was long predicted but came far later and weaker than expected. So experts dialed back their forecasts. Then El Nino got stronger quickly.

Some scientists have theorized that the jet stream has been changing in recent years because of shrinking Arctic sea ice, an idea that has not totally been accepted but is gaining ground, Shepherd says.

Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, likens what's happening to a stewpot: Natural climate fluctuations such as El Nino go into it. So do jet stream meanderings, random chance, May being a transition month, and local variability. Then throw in the direct and indirect effects of climate change.

"We know that the stew has an extra ingredient," Hayhoe says, referring to climate change. "That ingredient is very strong. Sometimes you add one teaspoon of the wrong ingredient and boy, it can take your head off."

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