No Springtime Yet
By Russell Russ
April can have traits of both winter and spring. It is historically a month of transition between the two seasons. This year, much to the dismay of many, April was more like winter than spring. Winter indeed was giving a good effort to hold on as long as it could.
April’s low temperature of 26 degrees was observed on April 12, 17 and 22. The high of 62 degrees was observed on April 25. With an average monthly mean temperature of 40.8 degrees, it was 2.3 degrees below normal. It was about five degrees colder than last April. There were no record daily highs or lows this month and overall the entire month only came in as the 20th coldest April over the last 89 years. On paper it was fairly normal temperature-wise, it just felt cold. 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 4.38 inches, just 0.12 inches above normal. It did not happen by much, but it was the first month of 2020 that came in above normal for precipitation. Through April, the total precipitation for the year was 12.99 inches, 3.33 inches below normal. This is nearly five inches less than through April last year.
April’s snowfall total was 6.5 inches, 0.6 inches above normal. Surprisingly, although it seemed so snowy this month, it really was near normal. Snowfall in April is common in Norfolk. Snow does not stick around very long in April. This year, of the thirty days in April, five days had a trace of snow on the ground and only two days had measurable snow on the ground.
Through April, the 2020 calendar year snowfall amount of 30.1 inches was 34.7 inches below normal. This is about five inches less than through April last year. The Norfolk record for most snowfall during the month of April was 27.7 inches in 1956.
The 2019-20 winter season (October-April) snowfall total of 56.1 inches is currently 33.0 inches below normal for the season. This is only 0.5 inch less than last season through April. Nearly the same snowfall for two years in a row, but still considerably below normal for both. The winter snow season ends after May so the seasonal totals are not finished yet. Yes, Norfolk can see snowfall in May.
A look ahead at May’s weather through mid-month shows that temperatures were running 8.7 degrees colder than normal. In fact, through May 15, this May was standing as the coldest May on record over the last 89 years. That will likely change as the second half of the month progresses, but it still likely will rank quite high as a cold May. Winter was still trying to hang on.
Rainfall was about normal, but snowfall was above normal. Yes, Norfolk can see snowfall in May. Between May 8 and May 9 Norfolk recorded a total of 1.0 inch of snowfall. The average for May is just 0.4 inch. This year’s May measurable snowfall occurred on the anniversary of the great May snowfall of 1977 when a state record 20.0 inches was recorded. The forecast for the second half of May is looking warmer and brighter. Maybe spring will finally arrive in Norfolk after all.