Impactful Storm Hits Town

By Russell Russ

Spring got off to a slow start this year. It was a cool and cloudy early April with high temperatures staying in the forties and fifties. For the first two weeks of April the weather felt more like March. Typical spring sights, smells and sounds were not common until after the second week of the month.

The weather changed with a bang when a strong cold front came through town during the late afternoon of April 14. The approaching storm front intensified right over Norfolk, bringing with it heavy rainfall, thunder and lightning, hail and brief straight-line winds. Damage from the storm was more localized than widespread, but it was localized right near the center of town. Trees and wires were down near the Village Green, Town Hall and Botelle School. Several roads were closed, including Rt. 44 and Rt. 272. Power was out for several hours (at least) for many residents. Adding difficulty to cleanup efforts, another smaller thunderstorm with brief heavy rainfall came through an hour later. After this impactful storm front passed, the tide was turned, summer was knocking at our door.

April’s low temperature of 27 degrees was observed on April 5 and 18. The high of 75 degrees was observed on April 14. With an average monthly mean temperature of 43.7, it was just 0.6 degree above normal. Norfolk’s warmest April was in 2010 with 49.4 degrees and the coldest was in 1943 with 36.8 degrees.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 6.55 inches, 2.27 inches above normal. This April was Norfolk’s tenth wettest April over the last 91 years. A vast majority of the precipitation came during the first two-thirds of the month. The April 14 event produced 1.23 inches, most of which came in a short period of time. Norfolk’s wettest April was in 1983 with 10.79 inches, the driest was in 1941 with 1.15 inches. Through April, the total precipitation for the year was 17.05 inches, 0.78 inch above normal and 6.41 inches above where we were last year through April. Norfolk is holding its own for total precipitation this year.

This April saw no accumulating snowfall. There were eight days with snow showers or flurries and one day with a little sleet, all amounting to just a trace for total depth. Norfolk’s average April snowfall amount is 6.1 inches. There have been many Aprils with no snowfall or just a trace of snow. The snowiest April was in 1997 when Norfolk accumulated an impressive monthly total of 31.1 inches.

Through April, the 2022 calendar year’s snowfall total of 37.8 inches was 26.6 inches below normal. The 2021-2022 winter season (October-April) snowfall total of 43.4 inches was a whopping 45.3 inches below normal. Every month this winter was below normal for snowfall. January was the only month that came close to normal for snowfall. Through April, this winter ranked as the third least snowy winter season since records began at this weather station in 1932. The winter season technically runs through May, but it is not looking like Norfolk will see any May snowfall this year. Norfolk’s top three least snowy winters are: 2015-2016 with 35.5 inches, 1994-1995 with 40.9 inches, and now 2021-2022 with 43.7 inches. Norfolk’s snowiest winter season was in 1955-1956 with 177.4 inches.

A look ahead at May’s weather through mid-month showed that temperatures were running about normal until a brief heat wave hit the Northeast US during the weekend of May 21-22. Norfolk’s high of 88 degrees on May 21 tied the 1934 record for that date. The high of 87 on May 22 tied the 1988 record for that date. Rainfall through mid-month was about average. Everything was still very spring like early in the month, but as we entered May’s second week everything popped and everything turned a summer green. May is like that, it starts with just a hint of green, and then by the end of the month everything looks like summer.