National Overview - April 2013


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National Overview:



April Extreme Weather/Climate Events

Supplemental April 2013 Information


  • Climate Highlights — April
  • The April average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 49.7°F, which was 1.4°F below the 20th century average. April 2013 ranked as the 23rd coolest such month on record and marked the coolest April since 1997 when the monthly average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 48.0°F.
  • The central U.S. was much cooler than average during April. North Dakota had its coldest April on record with a statewide average temperature of 31.0°F, 9.9°F below average. Six additional states — South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — each had a top ten cold April. Below-average temperatures were also present for the Northern and Central Rockies, the Southern Plains, and the Mississippi River Valley.
  • Near and above-average temperatures were present along the U.S. East Coast and in parts of the West. California had its 12th warmest April on record with a statewide temperature 3.7°F above average.
  • The April average precipitation for the contiguous U.S. was 2.90 inches, 0.47 inch above average, and tied with 1953 as the 19th wettest April on record.
  • The Northwest, Midwest, and the Southeast were wetter than average. Iowa and Michigan both had their wettest April on record. The Iowa statewide average precipitation total of 6.71 inches was 3.76 inches above average; the Michigan precipitation total of 5.97 inches was 3.29 inches above average. Additionally, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin each had one of the ten wettest Aprils on record.
  • The wet conditions in the central U.S. resulted in several rivers in Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan reaching record high levels, with widespread flooding observed. The Mississippi River at St. Louis also reached flood stage after dropping to near-record low levels at the beginning of the year.
  • Below-average precipitation was observed in the Southwest and Northwest. New Mexico had its 12th driest April, while Connecticut and Rhode Island had their sixth and 11th driest April, respectively.
  • Alaska was much cooler than average during April, with a statewide average temperature 5.8°F below the 1971-2000 average. This was the 7th coldest April in the 96-year period of record for the state, and the coldest April since 1985. The average temperature in Fairbanks was 14.5°F below normal and the coldest April on record for the city.
  • According to the April 30 U.S. Drought Monitor report, 46.9 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought, smaller than the 51.9 percent at the beginning of the month. Drought conditions continued to improve across the Southeast, Midwest, and along the northern and eastern periphery of the core drought areas of the Great Plains. Drought conditions worsened for parts of the Southwest, and drought continued for much of the Great Plains and Mountain West.
  • Several storms impacted the U.S. bringing record-breaking, late-season snowfall to central United States. According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the April snow cover extent for the contiguous U.S. was approximately 480,000 square miles, 209,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average and the 5th largest April snow cover extent in the 47-year period of record. However, dismal snowpack continued in parts of the West, with only 18 percent of normal snowpack reported in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • On a local basis, over three times as many record cold highs and lows occurred than record warm highs and lows. Approximately 3,430 record low temperatures and about 4,050 record cool daily high temperatures were tied or broken. In comparison, approximately 690 record warm daily high temperature records and 1,570 record warm daily low temperatures were tied or broken. (These numbers are preliminary and are expected to change as more data arrive.)
  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought across the contiguous U.S., was slightly above-average during April. The above-average CEI was driven by extremes in cold daytime and night time temperatures, 1-day precipitation totals, and the component that examines the spatial extent of drought.
  • Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was slightly above average (109 percent of average) during April and ranked as the 50th highest April value in the 119-year period of record.
  • Climate Highlights — spring-to-date (March — April)
  • The first two months of the spring season, March-April, were cooler than average for the contiguous United States. The nationally-average temperature for the two-month period was 45.2°F, 1.1°F below average and the 33rd coolest March-April on record. This marked the coldest such 2-month period since 1996.
  • Below-average temperatures stretched from the Northern Plains to the Southeast, with 16 states having one of the ten coolest March-April periods on record. Above-average temperatures occurred in the Northeast and West. California had its fifth warmest March-April and Arizona had its eighth warmest.
  • Climate Highlights — year-to-date (January — April)
  • The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. for the year-to-date period was 39.3°F, which was near the long-term average. Near to below-average temperatures were present from the Rockies, through the Plains and into the Ohio Valley. Near to above-average temperatures were observed in the West and the Northeast.
  • The nationally-averaged precipitation total for the year-to-date period was 8.94 inches, 0.13 inch below average.
  • Wetter-than-average conditions stretched from the Great Lakes, along the Mississippi River Valley, and into the Southeast. Michigan and Wisconsin each had their wettest January-April, with precipitation totals 5.26 inches and 3.62 inches above average, respectively. Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois also had a top ten wettest year-to-date period.
  • Much of the western and northeastern U.S. was drier than average during January-April. In the West, California had its driest year-to-date with a statewide precipitation total of 3.59 inches, 9.49 inches below average. Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho each had one of their ten driest year-to-date periods. In the Northeast, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont also had a top ten dry January-April.
  • The year-to-date USCEI was near-average. Despite the near-average USCEI, the extremes in 1-day precipitation totals and the component that examines the spatial extent of drought were both much above average.

Alaska Temperature and Precipitation:

  • Alaska had its 7th coolest April since records began in 1918, with a temperature 5.8°F (3.2°C) below the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 35th coolest February-April since records began in 1918, with a temperature 1.4°F (0.8°C) below the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 35th warmest January-April since records began in 1918, with a temperature 0.7°F (0.4°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 47th wettest April since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 3.3 percent below the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 33rd wettest February-April since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 17.5 percent above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 17th wettest January-April since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 30.9 percent above the 1971–2000 average.

For additional details about recent temperatures and precipitation across the U.S., see the Regional Highlights section below and visit the Climate Summary page". For information on local temperature and precipitation records during the month, please visit NCDC's Records page.


Regional Highlights:

These regional summaries were provided by the six Regional Climate Centers and reflect conditions in their respective regions. These six regions differ spatially from the nine climatic regions of the National Climatic Data Center.

  • Northeast Region: (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Preliminary data indicates the Northeast’s average temperature of 46.3 degrees F (7.9 degrees C) was neither above nor below normal for April - it was exactly normal. Five states were cooler than normal while seven were warmer. Departures for the cool states ranged from -0.1 degrees F (-0.1 degrees C) in Vermont to -1.0 degree F (-0.6 degrees C) in New York. For the warm states departures ranged from +0.2 degrees F (+0.1 degrees C) in Maryland and Massachusetts to +1.1 degrees F (+0.6 degrees C) in West Virginia. With a departure of +0.9 degrees F (+0.5 degrees C), Delaware had its 30th warmest April in 119 years.
  • For the fourth month in a row the Northeast was drier than normal. The region received 2.75 inches (69.85 mm) of precipitation, 75 percent of normal, making it the 29th driest April since 1895. All states were drier than normal with six of twelve ranking this April among their top 26 driest: Connecticut, 6th; Rhode Island, 11th; Maine, 16th; Massachusetts, 22nd; New Hampshire, 25th; and West Virginia, 26th. Connecticut was the driest state at 32 percent of normal. Departures for the rest of the states ranged from 37 percent of normal in Rhode Island to 96 percent of normal in New York.
  • An on-going lack of precipitation caused abnormally dry (D0) conditions to be introduced by the U.S. Drought Monitor in two counties in western Maryland, the northern third of West Virginia, part of coastal Maine, most of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and all of Connecticut by the end of the month. Abnormal dryness lingered through April in parts of New York while dry conditions along the Vermont-New Hampshire border were expanded to include surrounding counties. Conditions improved in northwest and southeast Pennsylvania, but the central portion remained dry and conditions deteriorated to D0 in the southwest corner of the state. In New Jersey, dry conditions in western counties were eased.
  • Warm air south of a stalled front helped 14 of 35 first-order climate sites in the Northeast to set record highs on the 9th and 10th. Strong thunderstorms fired up along the frontal boundary on the 10th. Around 80 storm reports were received in Pennsylvania where the storms dropped 1.75-inch (4.45 cm) diameter hail and wind gusts up to 70 mph (31 m/s) snapped trees, brought down power lines, and caused structural damage. Severe thunderstorms that formed along a potent cold front on the 19th spawned two tornadoes and three microbursts. A 75-yard (69 m) wide EF-0 tornado with estimated wind speeds of 85 mph (38 m/s) touched down for a ½ mile (0.8 km) near Largo, MD, and a 200-yard (183 m) wide EF-1 tornado with estimated wind speeds of 110 mph (49 m/s) carved a 3.2-mile (5.1 km) long path across Chenango and Delaware Counties in New York. The microbursts, with wind speeds estimated between 80 and 110 mph (36 and 49 m/s), occurred in Schuylkill and Susquehanna Counties in Pennsylvania and in Delaware County in New York. The tornadoes and microbursts caused structural damage, uprooted trees, snapped power poles, and damaged vehicles.
  • For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
  • April temperatures in the Midwest ranged from near normal in the southeast to much below normal in the northwest. Most of Kentucky and Ohio along with the southern two-thirds of Indiana were within 2 degrees F (1 C) of normal. Temperatures in Minnesota were 6 to 12 degrees F (3 to 7 C) below normal for April. The Midwest as a whole averaged 3.6 degrees F (2.0 C) below normal, ranking as the 15th coolest April in records extending back to 1895. Minnesota statewide averaged 8.5 degrees F (4.7 C) below normal ranking as the third coolest April and the coolest April since 1950. Wisconsin was 5.6 degrees F (3.1 C) below normal, ranked eighth overall and coolest since 1975. The two-month averages for March and April rank the Midwest as the seventh coolest, and six of the nine Midwest states among the 10 coolest years on record.
  • April precipitation was well above normal for much of the Midwest. Totals for the Midwest as a whole ranked as the second wettest April, trailing only 2011 (period of record 1895-2013). Iowa and Michigan each set new statewide records for precipitation during the month while five additional states (Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin) ranked among the wettest 10 percent in their history. January to April precipitation totals set new records in Michigan and Wisconsin and were among the wettest 10 percent in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri. Precipitation events on the 9th -11th and again 17th -19th each set hundreds of daily station precipitation records. Late season snowfall totals were also record breaking in parts of the upper Midwest. Duluth, Minnesota easily set a new April snow record with 50.8 inches (129 cm), crushing the previous record of 31.6 inches (80 cm) 1950. The April snow total also broke the record for the snowiest month in Duluth history topping the 50.1 inches (127 cm) that fell in November of 1991. Daily snowfall records were also set at several stations on the 19th including 25 inches (64 cm) at Isabella, Minnesota which broke the statewide April 1-day record of 24 inches (61 cm) from 1893 in St. Cloud.
  • Drought conditions continued to recede to the west as wet weather and flooding became a problem in many locations. Major flooding was reported from Iowa and Missouri to Michigan. Ten river gauge stations along the Illinois River set new high water marks at locations with at least a 20 year period of record. Widespread flash flooding occurred with the rain event on the 17th -19th and river levels climbed to major flood levels in six states.
  • Cool and wet weather have combined to delay field work and planting in most of the region. All nine states were well behind normal in planting progress for the corn crop. Only Missouri and Kentucky had more than 10 percent of their crop planted compared to a normal of more than 40 percent of the crop planted by the end of April. All nine states were behind normal by 12 to 35 percent at the end of the month.
  • Lakes in the northern two-thirds of Minnesota remained ice covered at the end of April. Ice-out on lakes in southern Minnesota came two to three weeks later than historical median dates.
  • For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest, see the weekly summaries in the Midwest Climate Watch page.
  • Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Mean temperatures in April were variable across the Southeast, with above-average temperatures across the northern and southern tiers of the region and near-average temperatures across the middle of the region. The greatest departures were found across the Florida Peninsula, where monthly temperatures were between 2 and 3 degrees F (1.1 and 1.6 degrees C) above-average, while temperatures across much of Virginia and central portions of the Carolinas were 1 to 2 degrees F (0.5 to 1.1 degrees C) above-average. Monthly temperatures were also above-average across Puerto Rico, with San Juan recording its 5th warmest April in a record extending back to 1898. Conversely, temperatures were slightly below-average across the U.S. Virgin Islands. The first week of April saw a continuation of unseasonably cool weather that dominated during March, with temperatures as much as 20 degrees F (11.1 degrees C) below-average across parts of central Alabama and Georgia. This was followed by generally above-average temperatures during the middle of the month, which included over 100 daily maximum and over 300 daily high minimum temperature records either tied or broken across the region. Many of these records occurred on the 11th of the month, as temperatures exceeded 90 degrees F (32.2 degrees C) as far north as Washington D.C. The final week of the month saw a return of unseasonably cool weather, including subfreezing temperatures across much of Virginia and western North Carolina on the morning of the 22nd. For the month, there were over 50 daily minimum and over 200 daily low maximum temperature records tied or broken across the region.
  • Monthly precipitation totals were also variable across the Southeast. The wettest locations were found across northern Georgia and South Carolina, southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Georgia, and much of the southern tier of Florida, where monthly precipitation totals were more than 200 percent of normal. Miami Beach, FL recorded its wettest April with 11.06 inches (280.9 mm) of rainfall, which was more than 8 inches (203.2 mm) above normal (period of record: 1927-2013). The unseasonably cool weather early in the month resulted in a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain across the Piedmont region of North Carolina and Virginia and up to 5 inches (127 mm) of snowfall across the Southern Appalachians on the 4th of the month. Up to 3 inches (76.2 mm) of rain fell locally across northern South Carolina and southwestern North Carolina on the 11th and 12th of the month, while more than 2 inches (50.8 mm) of rain fell across parts of the northern Florida coast on the 15th of the month. Multiple rounds of severe storms dropped as much as 2 to 3 inches of rain locally across Georgia and the Carolinas on the 19th and 20th as well as on the 29th and 30th of the month. In contrast, the driest locations in April were found across much of Virginia, eastern North Carolina, and parts of the Florida Panhandle, where monthly precipitation totals were between 50 and 75 percent of normal. Monthly precipitation was above (below) average across the western (eastern) half of Puerto Rico, while precipitation was generally below average across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • There were 365 reports of severe weather across the Southeast in April, including 21 confirmed tornadoes. On the 5th of the month, an EF-0 tornado produced damage in the Long Beach Estates Community on Big Pine Key in Monroe County, FL. A total of 12 tornadoes were confirmed across parts of Alabama and Georgia on the 11th of the month. The strongest tornado was an EF-2 that caused significant damage in the town of Notasulga, AL, located northeast of Montgomery. One minor injury was reported. A woman was also injured in Winston County, AL as she attempted to flee from her mobile home. On the 14th of the month, a waterspout moved onshore near Apalachicola, FL, causing minor damage to a few mobile homes. A line of severe storms moving through the region on the 19th of the month produced at least two tornadoes and numerous reports of straight-line wind and hail damage, including an 82 mph gust recorded at Shaw AFB in central South Carolina. The strongest tornado was an EF-2 that caused significant damage in the town of Mansfield, GA, located just south of Athens. One man was injured by falling debris in his mobile home. Another line of storms on the 28th of the month produced four weak tornadoes across parts of central Georgia and South Carolina. On the 30th of the month, a waterspout moved onshore and caused minor damage in Palm Beach County, FL. Also of note, on the 3rd of the month non-convective high winds across Mobile Bay in southern Alabama caused a Carnival cruise ship to break free from its mooring, causing damage to its hull. The ship was at port in Mobile for repairs following a massive engine fire that stranded passengers off the coast of Mexico for several days back in February. The high winds were also to blame for the death of a security guard at the shipyard, who drowned when his guard post blew into the bay.
  • Drought conditions continued to improve across much of the Southeast, as the area designated in moderate drought (D1) or greater decreased from 17 percent at the end of March to only 6 percent at the end of April. This is the smallest value observed across the Southeast since July 2010. Drought conditions were eliminated across the Carolinas and only a small area of drought remained along the coast of Georgia. On the other hand, areas of moderate (D1) and severe (D2) drought continued to persist across much of central Florida, although this aided the planting of spring produce. The cold weather from the prior month that extended into early April continued to limit forage and winter wheat growth across Florida and North Carolina, and caused some damage to warm season crops across south Florida and to row crops across southern Georgia. The excessive rain and cool temperatures also contributed to seed stem problems in the Vidalia onion crop across southeastern Georgia, though higher than average yields are expected to offset any losses. Multiple rounds of severe weather also caused damage to several crops across the southern tier of the region.
  • For more information, please go to the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • High Plains Region: (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center)
  • The cooler conditions of March continued into April across the High Plains Region. Average temperatures were well below normal for the majority of the Region and in stark contrast to last year when many locations were in the top ten warmest on record. A rough southwest to northeast temperature gradient was apparent with average temperatures which were near normal across southwest portions of Colorado and Wyoming and up to 15.0 degrees F (8.3 degrees C) below normal in North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota. Even with a late month warm-up, these cooler conditions caused locations in each state to be ranked in the top ten coolest Aprils on record. These cooler conditions were also accompanied by wintry weather and some locations ranked in both the top ten coolest and snowiest Aprils on record. Aberdeen, South Dakota had its coolest and 2nd snowiest April on record. The average temperature in Aberdeen was 34.9 degrees F (1.6 degrees C) which was 9.5 degrees F (5.3 degrees C) below normal (period of record 1893-2013). The old record occurred in 1950 with an average temperature of 36.0 degrees F (2.2 degrees C). More records occurred in Rapid City, South Dakota which had both the coolest and snowiest April. The average temperature was only 36.7 degrees F (2.6 degrees C) in Rapid City, and at 8.3 degrees F (4.6 degrees C) below normal, this temperature was able to easily beat the old record of 38.0 degrees F (3.3 degrees C) also set in 1950 (period of record 1942-2013).
  • The High Plains Region experienced a wide range of weather conditions this April including rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, thunderstorms (including thundersnow and thundersleet), hail, high winds, dust storms, and tornadoes. This active pattern was welcomed as it brought many chances for precipitation to the drought-stricken areas and widespread improvements were made in regards to the drought. By the end of the month, April precipitation totals were quite varied, however, and most locations were within about 25 percent of normal precipitation. Areas which received at least 150 percent of normal precipitation included eastern Nebraska, northeastern Kansas, central North Dakota, central Colorado, and pockets of Wyoming and South Dakota. Meanwhile, northern and southwestern North Dakota, west-central Nebraska, western Kansas, and eastern Colorado received less than 50 percent of normal precipitation. For some locations, even ones that came short of normal, this was the most precipitation received in the past year. For instance, North Platte, Nebraska only had 1.27 inches (32 mm) of liquid equivalent precipitation this month which was 56 percent of normal. However, this was the most precipitation since April of last year. Unfortunately, North Platte was still 13.00 inches (330 mm) below normal for that 12-month period. Even with increases in precipitation, drought impacts were still being realized. According to the USDA, the winter wheat crops in Colorado and Kansas were struggling due to the prolonged dryness with much of the crop rating in the poor to very poor categories (54 percent in Colorado and 39 percent in Kansas). Also, in Colorado, the combination of drought and strong winds contributed to a dust storm that closed I-25 and covered farmland with sand and dirt. While dust storms are not necessarily uncommon in Colorado, this dust storm had quite an impact on local farmers in Lincoln County, located in the east-central part of the state. According to 9News in Denver, a dust storm on April 14th blew sand and dirt on more than 100,000 acres of land. Some places had an estimated 6-8 inches of sand and dirt covering the fields. Local ranchers indicated that it may take years to rebuild the soil. While drought impacts were still an issue in many parts, other areas of the Region made significant improvements. There were stations in each state which ranked in the top 10 snowiest Aprils on record as many storm systems affected the Region. Bismarck, North Dakota blasted through records this month as an historic snowstorm dumped 17.3 inches (44 cm) of snow on April 14th. This snow total went down as the new record 1-day snowfall for not just April, but for any calendar day of the year. Ultimately, with 21.8 inches (55 cm), Bismarck set a new monthly snowfall total beating the old record of 18.7 inches (47 cm) set in 1984 (period of record 1886-2013). Rapid City, South Dakota also had its snowiest April on record with 43.4 inches (110 cm). This snowfall total crushed the old record of 30.6 inches (78 cm) set back in 1970 (period of record 1942-2013). Remarkably, both Bismarck and Rapid City had set their new April snowfall records by the middle of the month. The abundance of snow improved the snowpack situation in the Rockies significantly, which had previously been lagging. By the end of the month, the Colorado statewide snowpack was 80 percent of average, which was up from last month’s 75 percent. Conditions improved greatly in Wyoming, with the month ending at 98 percent of average, up considerably from last month’s 82 percent of average. Many communities along the northern part of the Front Range racked up hefty snow totals this month. Boulder, Colorado had its snowiest April on record with 47.6 inches (121 cm) and beat the old record by over 3.0 inches (8 cm). The old record of 44.0 inches (112 cm) was set in 1957 (period of record 1893-2013).
  • There were significant changes to the U.S. Drought Monitor over the past month as the combination of cool and wet conditions allowed for many improvements to be made. At the end of April, approximately 85 percent of the Region was in moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought - down from 91 percent at the end of last month. All D4 conditions in South Dakota and Wyoming were erased leaving D3 or severe drought conditions (D2) in its place. Overall, Nebraska had the largest improvements and went from 76 percent in D4 to only 8 percent. Extreme drought conditions were also trimmed back in South Dakota, Wyoming, eastern Nebraska, and northern Colorado. Unfortunately, conditions worsened slightly in southeastern Colorado and western Kansas where D4 expanded. Kansas now has the largest percentage of D4 coverage at just under 20 percent. According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released April 18th, drought conditions were expected to improve in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and eastern portions of Colorado and Wyoming. Drought was expected to persist elsewhere through July 2013.
  • For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
  • April proved to be a colder than normal month for the Southern Region, with all six states reporting temperature averages that are below expected values. For much of the region, average temperature anomalies ranged from 0 to 4 degrees F (0 to 2.22 degrees C) below normal. In Oklahoma, however; temperature anomalies ranged from 4 to 8 degrees F (2.22 to 4.44 degrees C) below normal over much of the central and western portions of the state. With a statewide average temperature of 54.60 degrees F (12.56 degrees C), Oklahoma recorded its fifth coldest April on record (1895-2013). Arkansas and Texas saw their eighteenth and twentieth coldest Aprils on record (1895-2013), respectively. Arkansas reported a statewide average temperature of 58.40 degrees F(14.67 degrees C), while in Texas, the statewide average temperature for April was 63.10 degrees F (17.28 degrees C). Louisiana saw its twenty-third coldest April on record (1895-2013), with a statewide average temperature of 64.50 degrees F (18.06 degrees C). Mississippi's statewide average temperature for the month was 62.20 degrees F (16.78 degrees C), while in Tennessee, it was slightly cooler, with a statewide temperature of 56.90 degrees F (13.83 degrees C). For Mississippi it was the thirty-fifth coldest April on record (1895-2013), while for Tennessee, it was the forty-second coldest April on record (1895-2013).
  • April precipitation totals in the Southern Region varied spatially, with drier than normal conditions in western Texas and western Oklahoma, while much wetter than normal conditions were observed in the eastern portions of the region and along the Louisiana and Mississippi coastline. In the western portion of the region, the majority of stations reported less than one quarter of normal precipitation, with many stations, particularly in the High Plains climate division of Texas, not seeing a drop all month. Conversely, precipitation totals over much of Tennessee varied between one and a half to two times of normal. This was also the case in southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, and east central Oklahoma. The statewide averaged precipitation totals are as follows: Tennessee with 7.62 inches (193.55 mm), Mississippi with 7.07 inches (179.58 mm), Louisiana with 6.92 inches (175.77 mm), Arkansas with 5.32 inches (135.13 mm), Oklahoma with 4.48 inches (113.79 mm), and Texas with a mere 1.82 inches (46.23 mm). Texas was the only state in the region that experienced a drier than normal month. For Tennessee, it was their eighth wettest April on record (1895-2013). Louisiana experienced its eighteenth wettest April on record (1895-2013), and Mississippi reported its twenty-seventh wettest April on record (1895-2013). All other state rankings fell in the middle two quartiles.
  • Drought conditions have not changed significantly over the past month. The states of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana remain drought free. In Arkansas, above normal precipitation has led to drought relief in the western counties. There has also been some slight reduction of drought conditions in eastern Oklahoma. Dryness in the western half of Texas has lead to some deterioration, particularly in the western panhandle and the northern panhandle.
  • Farmers in far west and south Texas still have dry conditions to contend with, where rainfall has been sparse for months and streamflows have become too low to depend on. Agricultural concerns aren't limited to a lack of rain this month, though. Strong frontal passages have brought temperatures near freezing for many parts of the state. The unseasonably cold conditions are causing concern for farmers, particularly for vineyards and peaches in central and west Texas; others remain convinced the cold won't affect prices or future yields for wheat, which is still young and resist the cold somewhat. A $5.3 million grant, provided through the Agriculture Secretary, is aimed at funding research to improve resilience to these problems (Information provided by the Texas State Office of Climatology).
  • In Texas, frontal passages at the beginning and end of the month brought thunderstorms and flooding to central and east Texas, cutting power to a combined 130,000 people and causing hail and flood damage. In the middle of the month, high winds caused wind storms in west Texas which, combined with the dry conditions in these regions, kicked up dust and dropped visibility, causing anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000 in damages. These high winds have contributed to increased fire risk, allowing lightning to set off several fires in east Texas. This and other fire emergencies from the previous two years have prompted FEMA to grant Texas $31.2 million to combat new fires and recover from the many fires since 2011 (Information provided by the Texas State Office of Climatology).
  • On April 10, 2013, three tornadoes were reported in northern Arkansas. As a result, one home was destroyed in Van Buren County.
  • On April 11, 2013, one person was killed and nine were injured when an EF3 tornado ripped through Kemper County, Mississippi.
  • On April 17, 2013, several tornadoes were reported throughout much of central Oklahoma. Several homes were reported destroyed in Delaware County.
  • On April 24, 2013, two people were injured when tornadoes touched down in south eastern Louisiana. The injuries were reported in Jefferson Parish.
  • For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
  • Large-scale circulation patterns this April continued to favor precipitation in the eastern Great Basin, Rockies, and far northwest at the expense of the Sierra Nevada and Southwest. Much of the southern tier of the West experienced less than 25% of normal precipitation. Eastern Oregon and southern Idaho also saw dry conditions. Persistent upper level troughs over the High Plains brought colder than normal temperatures to the far northeastern portions of the region, the Rocky Mountain states and inland Northwest, while the Southwest saw above normal temperatures.
  • After a fairly dry start to the winter season, March and April brought significant snowfall to Colorado’s Front Range. Boulder recorded its snowiest April in a 120-year record with 47.6 in (121 cm) snowfall. The previous record was 44 in (112 cm) in 1957. Much of this snowfall occurred over the 15th-18th with consecutive strong storms. Colorado’s statewide average snowpack climbed to 92% of average, with basins in the northern part of the state near to above average while basins in the southern part of the state remained 60-80% of average. Despite the record snowfall, total precipitation at Boulder fell short of record values, totaling 4.16 in (106 mm), 145% of normal. Western Washington also received ample precipitation this month. Sea-Tac Airport recorded 5.8 in (147 mm) precipitation this month, the second wettest April in the location’s 65-year record. Several other western Washington locations reported one of their top-10 wettest Aprils as well. Washington snowpack was doing well at month’s end, with all basins over 90% of normal. Elsewhere in the West, precipitation and snowpack were not so abundant. With very little snowfall and warm temperatures this month, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada fell to 18% of normal by the end of the month. Snowpack also dwindled in southern Oregon, southern Utah and northern Nevada. Montana saw its 4th consecutive month of below normal statewide average precipitation, making for nine out of the past 12 consecutive months with below normal precipitation. Further south, Los Angeles recorded its 5th driest rain season (July 1-April 30) total of 5.14 in (131 mm). This is the 5th driest since records began in 1877 and 9.44 in (240 mm) below normal for this period. The total January-April precipitation is the least on record over much of central and northern California and western Nevada, parts of western Oregon and Washington, and in southwest Montana, eastern Idaho, and northwest Wyoming.
  • Above normal temperatures dominated the Southwest this month. Average April temperatures of 5-6 F (3-4 C) above normal made for many top-10 warmest Aprils in southern California. Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona recorded their 7th warmest Aprils on record at 70.1 F (21.2 C) and 75.3 F (24.1 C), respectively. In Las Vegas, a high of 99 F (37.2 C) on the 29th tied for the highest April temperature on record. Records began in Las Vegas in 1937 and in Phoenix in 1895. Elsewhere in the West, colder conditions prevailed. In Montana, a 21-city mean monthly temperature averaged 38.1 F (3.4 C), 4.9 F (2.7 C) below normal and the 11th coldest April for Montana in the past 133 years. Denver, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming both saw their 6th coolest Aprils on record at 41.7 F (5.4 C) and 35.7 F (2.1 C), respectively.
  • Unusual cold dominated Alaska this month with average temperatures ranging 12-15 F (6-8 C) below normal at inland locations. Fairbanks logged an average 18 F (-7.8 C) for the month, 14.5 F (8 C) below normal and the coldest April in its 64-year record. Further south, trade wind frequency was below normal this month in Hawaii, leading to dry conditions on the windward sides of Maui and Big Island. Hilo, on the Big Island, recorded only 2.97 in (75 mm), making for the second driest April on record. Meanwhile, with the passage of two cold fronts over the northwestern part of the state, Lihue, Kauai, recorded 3.05 in (77 mm) for the month, 136% of average and the wettest April since 2000.
  • April 7-8: High winds: A passing cold front brought high winds to many locations in the West. Mammoth Lakes at 9875 ft (3010 m) in southeastern California recorded a 115 mph (185 kph) gust on the 7th. Further north, Nevada’s Washoe Valley recorded a gust of 63 mph (101 kph). Gusts of over 50 mph (80 kph) were recorded in Pendleton, Oregon on the 7th. Winds downed a light pole in Las Vegas on the morning of the 8th.
  • April 14-16: Dust storm in southern Nevada, northern Arizona: High winds across the Southwest lifted and transported dust from the deserts of southeastern California and the Colorado plateau, northeastward into Colorado. Visibility was reduced to 5 miles (8 km) in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the 14th and 50 feet (15 m) in northern Arizona on the 16th. Interstate 40 was closed between Winslow and Winona, Arizona. Wind gusts reached 68 mph (109 kph) in Winslow on the 16th.
  • For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.

See NCDC's Monthly Records web-page for weather and climate records for the most recent month. For additional national, regional, and statewide data and graphics from 1895-present, for any period, please visit the Climate at a Glance page.


PLEASE NOTE: All of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages. Graphics based on final data are provided on the Temperature and Precipitation Maps page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for April 2013, published online May 2013, retrieved on September 19, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2013/4.