Winter comes to a close

By Russell Russ

April was our third consecutive month with above average precipitation totals. It sure seemed wet, cloudy and cool for most of the month. Where was spring this year? We finally started to get a taste of it near the end of the month. It took a while, but the long, cool grasp of winter finally let go.

The month’s low temperature of 25 degrees was observed on April 9. The high temperature of 82 degrees was observed on April 26. The high temperature of 82 on April 26 tied the 2009 record high for that. The average mean temperature this month was 45.8 degrees, 2.8 degrees above normal. April 2010 was Norfolk’s warmest April on record, but this year it was just a little above normal.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 6.22 inches, 1.92 inches above normal. There was some form of precipitation recorded on twenty-one of the thirty days this month and most of it was in the form of rain. Thunderstorms were observed on April 26 and 28, but the heaviest rains came without thunder on April 16 and 17 when 2.59 inches fell in nearly 12 hours. There was 3.7 inches of snowfall during the month, 2.5 inches below normal. It is unusual, but not unheard of, to have no snow at all during the month of April.

The snowfall total for this winter season, October through April, is now at 98.4 inches, 8 inches above normal. As is fairly typical for Norfolk, the snowiest months were December, January and February. March was a bit of a disappointment with regards to snowfall this year. Had it not been for January being 29 inches above normal we would have been back to our usual below normal for snowfall that we have been recording regularly over that last ten to fifteen years. For the calendar year through one third of 2011 the snowfall total of 81 inches is 15.4 inches above normal.

Although many locations lost a continuous snow cover by the middle of March, at the station there was snow on the ground up to April 10. Many small ponds lost their ice early in the month, but Tobey Pond and Wangum Lake held on until April 12. Over the previous two years we lost our snow cover and pond ice by mid to late March. Old Man Winter held on a little longer this year.