Near Normal for a Change

By Russell Russ

April’s weather this year was fairly normal. It’s refreshing not having to say
warmest or wettest on record. The month started off on the wintry side–
normal for April—but temperatures rebounded and came in just a little above
normal. We had only a handful of nice sunny days. Unlike last year, when
there were hardly any forsythia flowers, this was a good spring with the first
blooms showing up around the normal time of April 7-14. Lilacs also broke
bud and flowered at about normal time.
With an average monthly mean temperature of 45.0, April was 1.9 degrees
above normal. It was – near normal. April’s low temperature of 26 degrees was
observed on April 25 and the high of 74 was observed on April 29. There were
no daily temperature records set this month. Norfolk’s warmest April was in
2010 with an average of 49.4 degrees and the coldest was in 1943 with 36.8
Total precipitation recorded for the month was 5.56 inches, 1.28 inches above
normal. April 2 to 4, when rain changed to snow, we picked up 2.09 inches,
then on April 11 to 12 we picked up another 2.12 inches of rain. There were
numerous days with lesser amounts and, in fact, it was hard to go two or three
days without any precipitation. Norfolk’s driest April was in 1941 with 1.15
inches; the wettest was in 1983 with 10.79 inches.
Through April, the total annual precipitation was 22.55 inches, 6.28 inches
above normal. In comparison, in 2023, we were at 15.30 inches, 0.97 inch
below normal. Thanks to a very wet period from July through December, the
year 2023 finished as Norfolk’s fifth wettest year on record. Let us all hope
that we do not see a repeat of the excessive rainfall amounts that we saw during
the second half of last year.
The snowfall total for the month was 3.5 inches, which all came on April 4. It
was gone within a few days. Norfolk saw a little snow, sleet and graupel (snow
pellets) during that first week, but there was no more wintry precipitation after
April 6. Norfolk’s average April snowfall amount is 6.1 inches, but we’ve had
many Aprils with little or no snowfall. The snowiest April was in 1997 when
Norfolk accumulated an impressive 31.1 inches.

Through April, the 2024 calendar year snowfall was 38.2 inches, 26.2 inches
below normal. Snowfall for 2023-2024 winter season (October-April) was 45.5
inches, a total of 43.2 inches below normal. Assuming there is no snowfall in
May (there was none through May 25), this will rank as the sixth least snowy
winter on record. The top three in that category are: 2015-2016 with 35.5
inches; 1994-1995 with 40.9 inches, and 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 May 22 showed temperatures running
a little above normal. A big warm-up the week before Memorial Day will
increase the monthly average for sure, but the month will not rank overly
warm. Precipitation was running about two inches below normal with no
snowfall observed. At this point, a month with below normal precipitation is
not such a terrible thing. Can we try for two months?