By Russell Russ
April can have traits of both winter and spring. March was unusually pleasant with hardly any snow. April followed that with some warmer temperature, as would be expected, but April also had more snowfall, more rainfall, and more cloudy days than March. Even with some snow and many cloudy days, spring did arrive in Norfolk as it usually does in April.
One day this April stood out for being quite wild for weather. On April 21 it was 34 degrees in the morning, by early afternoon it was 63 degrees. Then a strong cold front with a tornado warning label came through at about 3:00 pm. Norfolk only recorded 0.16 inch for rainfall, but there was brief pea-sized hail. This cold front did produce two small tornados in Kent, CT and Amenia, NY. In Norfolk the temperature dropped 21 degrees in 25 minutes and by 5:00 pm with temperatures in the low 30’s there were snow flurries in the air. Overnight into the next morning Norfolk was blanketed with nearly an inch of snow.
April’s low temperature of 17 degrees was observed on April 3. This tied the 1978 record daily low for that date. The high of 77 degrees was observed on April 28. There were no daily record high temperature in April. With an average monthly temperature of 45.4 degrees, it was 2.3 degrees above normal. This April was tied with 2012 and 2019 as Norfolk’s 20th warmest April over the last 90 years. Norfolk’s warmest April was in 2010 with 49.4 degrees and the coldest was in 1943 with 36.8 degrees.
With 90 years of weather observing for the month of April, over the last 20 years there have been five April’s ranked in the top ten for warmest Aprils. Over the last 20 years there has been one April ranked in the top ten for coldest.
The total precipitation recorded for the month was 2.87 inches, 1.41 inches below normal. Through April, the total precipitation for the year was 10.64 inches, 5.63 inches below normal. Norfolk’s wettest April was in 1983 with 10.79 inches, the driest was in 1941 with 1.15 inches. April’s snowfall total was 6.0 inches, just 0.1 inch below normal. Although it seemed to be a snowy April, it really was near normal. There have been many Aprils with no snowfall or just a trace of snow, the snowiest April was in 1997 with 31.1 inches.
Through April, the 2021 calendar year snowfall amount of 53.5 inches was 10.9 inches below normal. The 2020-2021 winter season (October-April) snowfall total of 77.6 inches was 11.1 inches below normal, about in the middle of the pack for seasonal snowfall over the last 90 years. Norfolk’s snowiest season was in 1955-1956 with 177.4 inches, the least was in 2015-2016 with just 35.5 inches.
A look ahead at May’s weather through mid-month showed that temperatures were running about six degrees colder than normal. It was a cool and cloudy first half of May. By the third week of the month it did warm up and a few days with temperatures in the 80’s helped bring the monthly average up to near normal. There was no snowfall, but there was a decent amount of rain for a change. As usual, this may carried Norfolk from a brown spring look to a green summer look in the span of a few weeks.