Fourth Warmest April on Record
By Russell Russ
April began with six inches of snow on the ground and most local lakes and ponds still covered with ice. Maple sap was still flowing and syrup was still being produced. By April 5, both the snow and the ice were gone and the maple syrup season was over. Temperatures quickly became warmer than normal and stayed that way throughout the remainder of the month. Snowfall and rainfall were below normal, but both were not far below normal. Spring came in April.
Unlike last year, when some unseasonably cold April temperatures hurt certain flowering trees and shrubs, there were no hard freezes this year to cause much damage. Blooming time and abundance was about normal this year, much better than last year.
April’s low temperature of 26 degrees was observed on April 9 and the high of 84 degrees was observed on April 11, just two days later. There were two daily-record high temperatures this month: April 10, with 78 degrees, surpassed the old 1945 record of 75 degrees; and April 11, with 84 degrees, surpassed another 1945 record of 78 degrees.
With an average monthly mean temperature of 48.4 degrees, it was 5.3 degrees warmer than normal, making this April Norfolk’s fourth warmest over the last 86 years. The warmest April was in 2010 with an average mean temperature of 49.4 degrees and the coldest was in 1943 with 36.8 degrees. April’s average monthly temperature has not been below 40 degrees since 1978.
The total precipitation recorded for the month was 3.76 inches, 0.47 inches below normal. Through April, our total precipitation for the year was 13.18 inches, 3.12 inches below normal. The precipitation deficit still continues to grow, but it is slowing down and is not a major concern at this time.
April’s snowfall total was 1.4 inches, 4.5 inches below normal. The month began with six inches of snow on the ground, but that was all gone by April 5. The 2016-17 winter season snowfall total was 88.7 inches. This was just 1.1 inches below normal, so it was very much a typical winter for snowfall. Last winter the snowfall total was a record-setting 35.5 inches, the least amount on record.
An early look at May’s weather through May 15 shows that temperatures were running seven degrees cooler than normal. There was even a brief burst of snow followed by snow showers on May 8, but despite the month’s cool start, the unseasonably warm spell that occurred May 17 to May 19 will certainly bring up the average. Rain fell in greater than usual amounts, and we had nearly reached May’s monthly rainfall average by mid-month. This will provide some relief from the rainfall deficit that we have recently been facing.