7th Wettest April on Record

By Russell Russ

April is the transition month between winter and spring. It can have traits of both winter and spring and that is what Norfolk saw this April. It was warm enough early in the month to end the maple syrup season in the Norfolk area, but the remainder of the month only showed brief glimpses of warm spring weather. What seemed to be the theme of the month was the abundance of rainy days. Twenty-three of the month’s thirty-one days had at least a little of some form of precipitation. Dreary weather would describe it quite well.

April’s low temperature of 19 degrees was observed on April 2 and the high of 74 degrees was observed on April 19. With an average monthly mean temperature of 45.4 degrees, it was 2.3 degrees above normal. It was over 6 degrees warmer than last April. There were no record daily highs or lows this month and overall the entire month did not rank highly for warmth. Norfolk’s warmest April was in 2010 with an average mean temperature of 49.4 degrees and the coldest was in 1943 with 36.8 degrees.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 6.97 inches, 2.75 inches above normal. It felt like it should have ranked higher, but it was only Norfolk’s 7th wettest April over the last 88 years. Through April, the total precipitation for the year was 17.76 inches, 1.48 inches above normal. After March we were running a precipitation deficit of 1.27 inches, but April’s rains turned that around.

April’s snowfall total was just 0.9 inch, exactly 5 inches below normal. Interestingly, last April was exactly 5 inches above normal. With only three days of the month with a trace to one inch of snow on the ground it was a very snow-free month. Through April, the 2019 calendar year snowfall amount of 39.3 inches was 25.7 inches below normal. The snow total after last April was 91.1 inches. What a difference a year makes.

The 2018-19 winter season (October-April) snowfall total of 56.6 inches is 32.8 inches below normal. The winter snow season ends after May, but it is unlikely we will see any more measurable snow so the 2018-19 season will likely rank as Norfolk’s 11th least snowy winter season.

A look ahead at May’s weather through May 24 shows that temperatures were running nearly 3 degrees cooler than normal. It was a cool and wet early May with many rainy days. With a week still left in the month the rainfall total of 4.15 inches was just shy of the average monthly amount for May. There were even periods of snow and sleet that fell on May 12 and 13.

Weather-wise, many days felt more like March or April than May. Winter weather is unwelcome in May, but it is fairly common for Norfolk to see at least a little wintery precipitation during the month. Over the last 88 years of weather recording at this station there have been 41 months of May that have recorded at least some form of wintery precipitation. This year there was just a trace amount, but it was here. The weather finally turned around by May 18 and warmer temperatures and more sunshine finally got everyone thinking we were at long last closer to summer than winter.