National Overview - April 2016


NCEI added Alaska climate divisions to its nClimDiv dataset on Friday, March 6, 2015, coincident with the release of the February 2015 monthly monitoring report. For more information on this data, please visit the Alaska Climate Divisions FAQ.

Maps and Graphics

Temperature and Precipitation Ranks

U.S. Percentage Areas

More Information


National Overview:



April Extreme Weather/Climate Events

Supplemental April 2016 Information


  • Climate Highlights — April
 Average Temperature Departures (April)
April Average Temperature Departures
 April Percent of Average Precip
April Percent of Average Precipitation

Temperature

    Sep-Nov 2016 Statewide Temperature Ranks Map

    April 2016 Statewide Temperature Ranks
  • The April temperature for the contiguous U.S. was the 18th warmest at 53.2°F, or 2.2°F above the 20th century average.
  • The contiguous U.S. average maximum (daytime) temperature during April was 65.6°F, 2.1°F above the 20th century average, the 24th warmest on record. The average minimum temperature was 40.8°F, 2.2°F above average, and the 11th warmest on record. Record warm minimum temperatures were observed in the Northwest, while much-below-average minimum temperatures occurred in parts of the Northeast.
  • Above-average temperatures were observed across the western two-thirds of the contiguous U.S. with record and near-record warmth along the West Coast and in the Northwest. California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington each had an April temperature that was much above average. Near-average temperatures were observed for much of the East Coast with below-average temperatures in parts of the Northeast and Midwest.
  • The Alaska April temperature was record high at 33.3°F, 10.0°F above the 1925-2000 average and 0.4°F warmer than the previous record set in 1940. Record warmth was observed across the southern parts of the state with much-above-average temperatures for central and northern Alaska. Temperatures more than 12°F above average were observed across western parts of the state. Anchorage had its warmest April on record with a temperature of 43.5°F, 2.8°F warmer than the previous record set just last year. Parts of the Yukon River observed the earliest ice break up on record and Fairbanks observed a record-early 'green up', or start of the vegetation growing season.
  • During April there were 3,078 record warm daily high (1,382) and low (1,696) temperature records, which is almost three times the 1,044 record cold daily high (592) and low (452) temperature records.
  • Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during April was 38 percent below average and the 27th lowest value on record.

Precipitation

Sep-April 2016 Statewide Precipitation Ranks Map
April 2016 Statewide Precipitation Ranks
  • The April precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 2.95 inches, 0.43 inch above the 20th century average, the 21st wettest on record.
  • Above-average precipitation was observed across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. Seven states throughout the Great Plains, stretching from Montana to Texas, had an April precipitation total that was much above average.
    • Several rounds of heavy precipitation impacted parts of Texas during April causing widespread flooding. Houston was hit particularly hard on April 18 when 9.92 inches of rain was observed at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport; even higher amounts were observed to the northwest of the city. This was the second highest one-day precipitation total for the city, bested only by the 10.34 inches that was observed during Tropical Storm Alison in 1989. As a whole, Texas had its ninth wettest April with nearly 180 percent of average rainfall.
  • Near-to-below average precipitation was observed along both coasts, with below-average precipitation in parts of the Northwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
  • According to an analysis of NOAA data by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the April contiguous U.S. snow cover extent was 236,000 square miles, 45,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average and the 19th smallest in the 50-year period of record.
  • According to the May 3 U.S. Drought Monitor report, 14.6 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down about 0.5 percent compared to the end of March. Drought conditions improved across parts of the Northwest, Northern Plains and Rockies, and Southern Plains. Drought also improved somewhat in Northern California; however, drought conditions continued to impact nearly 90 percent of the state due to long-term dryness extending over five years. Drought conditions worsened in parts of the Southwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.


  • Climate Highlights — year-to-date (January-April)
 Average Temperature Departures (April)
Jan-Mar Average Temperature Departures
 April Percent of Average Precip
Jan-Mar Percent of Average Precipitation

Temperature

    Sep-Nov 2016 Statewide Temperature Ranks Map


    Jan-Mar Statewide Temperature Ranks
  • The January-April temperature was 43.1°F, 4.0°F above the 20th century average, making it the second warmest on record.
  • The contiguous U.S. average maximum (daytime) temperature during January-April was 54.5°F, 4.0°F above the 20th century average, the fourth warmest on record. The average minimum temperature was 31.8°F, 4.0°F above average, and the second warmest on record. Only January-April 2012 had a warmer minimum temperature at 32.9°F.
  • Above-average temperatures spanned the nation for the first four months of 2016, with every state being warmer than average. Thirty-four states across the West, Great Plains, Midwest and Northeast were much warmer than average, while parts of the Great Basin and Southeast observed above-average temperatures.
  • Alaska was record warm for the year-to-date with a statewide temperature of 21.7°F, 11.4°F above the 1925-2000 average. This bested the previous record of 18.9°F set in 1981. Record warmth spanned the state, including the cities of Anchorage, Bethel, Homer, King Salmon, Barrow and Nome. The year-to-date temperature in Anchorage was 33.5°F, 8.3°F above the 1981-2010 normal and 1.7°F higher than the previous record set in 1981.
  • Based on REDTI, the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during January-April was 65 percent below average and the fifth lowest value on record.

Precipitation

    Sep-April 2016 Statewide Precipitation Ranks Map
    Jan-Mar Statewide Precipitation Ranks
  • The January-April precipitation total was 9.92 inches, 0.45 inch above average and the 38th wettest.
  • Above-average precipitation was observed for parts of the Northwest, Northern Rockies, Great Plains, Midwest, Southeast and New England. Nebraska had a four-month precipitation total that was much-above-average. Below-average precipitation was observed for the Southwest, Mid-Mississippi Valley and much of the East Coast. No state was record dry or wet for the four-month period.

Extremes

  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for the year-to-date was 60 percent above average and the sixth highest value on record. On the national scale, extremes in warm maximum and minimum temperatures, the spatial extent of wetness, and one-day precipitation totals were much above average. The USCEI is an index that tracks extremes (falling in the upper or lower 10 percent of the record) in temperature, precipitation and drought across the contiguous United States.
    • On a regional scale, the CEI was much-above average in the Northern Rockies and Plains due to warm maximum and minimum temperatures and one-day precipitation totals. The CEI was also much-above average in the South due to the spatial extent of wet conditions and one-day precipitation totals.

**A comparison of the national temperature departure from average as calculated by NCDC's operational dataset (nClimDiv), the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN), and the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is available on our National Temperature Index 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)
  • For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • April was the first month since October 2015 that the Northeast had a below-normal monthly average temperature. The region's temperature of 44.5 degrees F (6.9 degrees C) was 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) below normal. Eleven states were colder than normal, with temperatures ranging from 2.9 degrees F (1.6 degrees C) below normal in New York and Vermont to 0.2 degrees F (0.1 degrees C) below normal in New Jersey. West Virginia was the only warmer-than-normal state at 0.9 degrees F (0.5 degrees C) above normal.
  • April was another drier-than-normal month for the Northeast. The region picked up 2.59 inches (65.79 mm) of precipitation, which was 71 percent of normal. All twelve states were drier than normal with precipitation ranging from 57 percent of normal in New Jersey to 87 percent of normal in Rhode Island. New Jersey had its sixteenth driest April on record, while Maryland had its eighteenth driest.
  • According to the U.S. Drought Monitor from April 7, 6 percent of the region was abnormally dry. With below-normal precipitation in March and April, streamflow levels dropped, soils began drying out, and some vegetation showed signs of stress. By the end of the month, abnormal dryness expanded to cover 34 percent of the region and moderate drought was introduced in parts of West Virginia, western Maryland, and south-central Pennsylvania.
  • Two strong frontal systems moved through the region in early April. Wind gusts of up to 90 mph (40 m/s) resulted in downed trees and power lines, structural damage, and more than 275,000 customers without power. Arctic air moved in behind the fronts. The cold air along with clear skies, light winds, and snow cover led to frigid temperatures, particularly in New York and New England. On April 4 and 5, temperatures were up to 30 degrees F (16.7 degrees C) below normal. On the 4th, Worcester, Massachusetts and Albany, New York were 1 degree F (0.6 degrees C) away from tying their all-time coldest high temperature for April. On the 5th, Concord, New Hampshire had a low of 4 degrees F (-15.6 degrees C), which was the site's all-time coldest April temperature on record. Ithaca, New York hit a low of -1 degree F (-18.3 degrees C), setting a record for all-time coldest April temperature and beating the old record (set on April 1, 1923) by 8 degrees F (4.4 degrees C). It was the first time the site reported a below zero temperature during April. The cold spell significantly damaged some fruit crops that had budded early. Dry conditions during the month contributed to several wildfires in the region. For example, a brush fire in Pike and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania burned more than 8,000 acres.
  • Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
  • April temperature departures ranged from below normal in the Great Lakes region to near to above normal elsewhere. Northwest Minnesota and northern Michigan saw monthly temperatures that were 3 to 5 degrees F (5 to 9 degrees C) below normal, while southwest Missouri was 3 to 4 degrees F (5 to 7 C) above normal. A majority of the region was within 2 degrees F (1 C) of normal April temperatures. The monthly departures resulted from highly variable temperatures throughout the month. The first half of April was unseasonably cold for a majority of the Midwest. However, the second half of the month was a mix of significantly above-normal temperatures across the region during the third week and a strong contrast between departures in the lower and upper Midwest at the end of the month. The range in April temperatures was evident in the daily temperature records, with a majority of the record low temperatures falling during the first half of the month and the opposite for record highs.
  • Above-normal precipitation fell across the western and northern portions of the region, with near- to below-normal precipitation elsewhere. Monthly precipitation totals ranged from as little as half an inch (13 mm) in southern Wisconsin to as much as 6 to 8 inches (152 to 203 mm) in northwest Missouri. A majority of the region received at least 2.50 inches (64 mm) of precipitation and the statewide values were within 0.50 inches (13 mm) of normal April precipitation. Due to unseasonably cold temperatures the first half of the month, some of the precipitation fell as snowfall in the Upper Midwest. Measurable snow fell as far south as southern Ohio, with the highest monthly snowfall accumulation of 20 to 25 inches (51 to 64 cm) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Much of the Upper Midwest snowfall occurred during the first week of April, but the second week saw some snowfall as well, particularly in northern Ohio. The amount of snow falling in early April was above normal for this time of year for most places. Portions of northern Michigan were 10 to 17.5 inches (25 to 44 cm) above normal, while the snow in northern Ohio was 2.5 to 7.5 inches (6 to 19 cm) above normal.
  • After a 14-week stretch of drought-free conditions, moderate drought was reintroduced into the region in mid-April. As of the April 26th Drought Monitor, 2.28 percent of the region was experiencing moderate drought, while 18.06 percent was considered abnormally dry. The 14-week stretch with no Midwest drought was the longest such period in the history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which began in 2000. The lack of drought was good for the region heading into the growing season.
  • The warmer conditions the second half of the month and near- to below-normal precipitation in many places proved favorable for planting corn and soybeans in many states across the Midwest in April. Corn planting was first reported in Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois on the April 11 USDA Crop Progress report. As of May 1, all nine Midwest states reported corn planted with most above the 5-year average. Missouri had the highest percentage of 89 percent planted (42 percent above the 5-year average), while 60 percent of corn was reported planted in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, and Minnesota. Planting soybeans did not start in the region until late April, but all nine Midwest states as of May 1 had reported some soybeans (2 to 11 percent) planted.
  • Based on climatology, the threat for severe weather increases in the Midwest as April progresses. April 2016 exhibited this pattern with the final nine days of the month (April 22-30) having by far the most active severe weather days. There were only a few scattered severe weather reports in the three weeks prior. All nine Midwest states experienced some form of severe weather (i.e. hail, high wind, or tornado) during the April 22-30 time frame, with a majority of the reports concentrated in the southern-most states.
  • For further details on the weather and climate events in the Midwest, see the weekly and monthly reports at the Midwest Climate Watch page.
  • Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Temperatures were near average across the Southeast region, with very few extremes observed during April. Mean temperatures were 1 to 3 degrees F (0.6 to 1.7 degrees C) above average across much of Alabama and Florida as well as portions of northern Georgia, Upstate South Carolina, western North Carolina, and western Virginia. In contrast, mean temperatures were 1 to 2 degrees F (0.6 to 1.1 degrees C) below average across portions of eastern North Carolina and Virginia. There were no long-term (i.e. period of record exceeding 50 years) stations across the mainland portion of the region with monthly mean temperatures that were ranked within the top 10 warmest or coldest values. Temperatures were above average in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as Juncos, PR (1931-2016) tied its third warmest April mean temperature on record. Across the Southeast, the warmest weather of the month occurred on the 28th and 29th, as warm, moist air surged northward ahead of an approaching frontal boundary. Daily maximum temperatures exceeded 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C) across much of the region, with several locations reaching the lower 90s F (32.8 to 33.9 degrees C). The coldest weather of the month occurred on the 6th and 10th, as continental high pressure systems settled over the region. Daily minimum temperatures fell below 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) across much of Virginia, North Carolina, and Upstate South Carolina, with several locations reaching the lower 20s F (-6.1 to -5 degrees C). On the 6th, Wallops Island, VA (1967-2016) observed its lowest minimum temperature for April on record (26 degrees F; -3.3 degrees C).
  • Precipitation was highly variable across the Southeast region during April, with several extremes recorded. The driest locations were found across portions of central and southern Florida, northern Georgia, northeastern Alabama, Upstate South Carolina, central North Carolina, and central Virginia. Monthly precipitation totals were between 5 and 50 percent of normal in these areas. In contrast, the wettest locations were found across portions of northern Florida, central and southern Georgia, southeastern Alabama, east-central South Carolina, and northeastern North Carolina. Monthly precipitation totals were between 150 and 300 percent of normal in these areas. Macon, GA (1893-2016) observed its sixth wettest April on record with 7.63 inches (194 mm) of precipitation. Over 70 percent of this monthly total was recorded on the 1st of the month, as the city observed its wettest April day on record and fifth wettest day all time with 5.42 inches (138 mm) of precipitation. In addition, Augusta, GA (1871-2016) observed its wettest April day on record with 3.92 inches (100 mm) of precipitation on the 1st. Precipitation was generally above normal across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during the month. San Juan, PR (1899-2016) observed its sixth wettest April on record with 10.02 inches (255 mm) of precipitation. Nearly 60 percent of this monthly total was recorded on the 23rd, as the city observed its third wettest April day on record with 5.82 inches (148 mm) of precipitation.
  • There were 182 severe weather reports across the Southeast during the month, which is less than 50 percent of normal (based on the median frequency of 400 reports for April during 2000-2015). At least one severe weather report was recorded within the region on 15 days during the month, but about 80 percent of the reports (144 of 182) occurred on just 4 of these days (1st, 6th, 28th, and 29th). At least 10 severe weather reports were recorded in every state across the region, with the greatest numbers occurring in Georgia (60; 33 percent of total) and Alabama (51; 28 percent of total). Tennis ball-sized hail with a diameter of 2.5 inches was observed in several locations during the month, including Burlington, NC and Halifax County, VA on the 28th as well as Tuscaloosa, AL on the 29th. On the 12th, a severe thunderstorm covered the ground with 1-inch (quarter-sized) hail in parts of Pickens, SC. High winds associated with a squall line resulted in widespread fallen tree damage across northern Virginia and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area on the 2nd of the month. Maximum wind gusts of 65 and 58 mph were recorded at Washington Dulles Airport and Washington Reagan National Airport, respectively. Early on the 7th, strong thunderstorm winds connected with a squall line caused trees to fall on 53 homes near Oakwood, GA. Nine homes sustained major damage, and five residences were destroyed. Twenty-two tornadoes (15 EF-0s, 5 EF-1s, 2 EF-2s) were confirmed across the region during the month, which is slightly less than the short-term (2000-2015) median frequency of 27 tornadoes observed during April. On the 1st, an EF-1 tornado touched down in Warner Robins, GA, causing minor damage to at least 350 homes. Though 10 to 15 residences sustained major damage or were destroyed, no injuries or fatalities were reported. An 83 mph wind gust was recorded at Warner Robins Air Force Base as the severe thunderstorm passed over the area. An EF-2 tornado touched down in Calhoun County, GA on the 7th, resulting in five reported injuries. Three mobile homes were destroyed, and three other residences were severely damaged.
  • Moderate (D1) drought conditions developed across a few portions of the Southeast region during April, including northeastern Georgia and western Virginia. The extent of moderate-to-severe (D1 through D2) drought conditions across eastern and southern portions of Puerto Rico remained near 18 percent during the month. Favorable weather conditions during much of April allowed farmers in southern Georgia and northern Florida to plant watermelons, and it also aided in the harvesting of the sweet corn crop in parts of southern Florida. Pasture conditions continued to improve across portions of Alabama and Florida, as warm, dry weather was predominant during mid-to-late April. However, cool weather during early April delayed the harvesting of blueberries in Georgia and Florida. Two late freezes on April 6th and 10th caused widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops across North Carolina and Virginia, with the greatest potential losses reported for apples, peaches, berries, and grapes.
  • 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 )
  • Despite dry conditions to begin the month, April ended very wet across most of the High Plains region. The warmth and dryness of March that was experienced by the eastern High Plains continued into the first half of April, causing drought conditions to expand. But, a series of storm systems crossed the region during mid-late April and brought relief to this area. Drought was removed in North Dakota and South Dakota, and it was reduced in Kansas. In the western High Plains, these storms boosted mountain snowpack, which was welcome in Wyoming where snowpack has suffered this season. Thanks to beneficial precipitation, Colorado's surface water supplies were in good shape as of the end of April, and the snowmelt/runoff season is expected to be near normal. A potent storm system impacted much of the region April 15-17 and brought widespread rainfall to the eastern High Plains, severe weather to Kansas, and more than 4 feet (122 cm) of snow to the foothills of the Colorado Front Range. This large system also impacted areas outside of the High Plains region, most notably Houston, Texas, which experienced historic flooding. Houston received 9.92 inches (252 mm) of rainfall on the 18th, which was the 2nd highest 1-day total precipitation on record for the city (period of record 1888-2016).
  • While most locations experienced a continuation of above normal temperatures in April, the warmth was not nearly as pronounced as it was during February and March. In fact, eastern North Dakota experienced below normal temperatures in April, which was quite a change from the impressive warmth this region had over the winter. Conditions in April brought both positive and negative impacts to agriculture. In Kansas, warm temperatures accelerated corn planting and emergence, and winter wheat was entering the heading stage well ahead of schedule, but the recent excessive moisture had farmers concerned about wheat rust. Cool and wet conditions caused delays in planting corn in South Dakota and Nebraska, as farmers had to wait for muddy fields to dry. Some drying in May is needed for farmers to resume planting in these areas.
  • The impressive warmth experienced by much of the region during late winter came to an end in April. The majority of the region experienced temperatures that were near normal to 2.0 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) above normal. One exception was an area from eastern Kansas up through eastern Nebraska that was warmer, as temperatures ranged from about 2.0-4.0 degrees F (1.1-2.2 degrees C) above normal. Another exception was eastern North Dakota, but it was cooler with temperatures ranging from about 1.0-3.0 degrees F (0.6-1.7 degrees C) below normal. This was a drastic change from the previous two months when average monthly temperatures in this area were ranging from about 9.0-11.0 degrees F (5.0-6.1 degrees C) above normal. In fact, average monthly temperatures in eastern North Dakota have been well above normal since September 2015.
  • Spring weather is always critical for farmers as it is the start of the growing season. Warm temperatures and dryness in early April allowed for farmers to start planting spring wheat and small grains earlier than normal. However, according to the South Dakota State Climatologist, a hard freeze in South Dakota on the 12th had farmers concerned about potential wheat damage. Unseasonably cool temperatures at the end of the month resulted in a few record minimum high temperatures to occur on the 30th in Kansas, such as in Goodland where the high temperature reached only 41.0 degrees F (5.0 degrees C) (period of record 1895-2016). As a result, there were concerns about wheat damage. Corn and soybean planting were behind schedule in the northern High Plains due to cool and wet conditions that prevailed during the second half of April. Pasture and range conditions were mostly good throughout the region as of the end of April, thanks to the cooler and wetter weather.
  • Overall, April was rather wet across a large portion of the High Plains. The majority of the region received at least 150 percent of normal precipitation for the month, with some areas exceeding 400 percent of normal precipitation. The area that received the heaviest precipitation was a swath from west-central Kansas up through central Nebraska where departures were more than 6 inches (152 mm) above normal. Dodge City, Kansas and Kearney 4NE, Nebraska had their wettest Aprils on record (Dodge City period of record 1875-2016, Kearney 4NE period of record 1895-2016). Locations in all 6 states in the region ranked in the top 10 wettest Aprils on record. Even more impressive is the fact that the majority of the precipitation fell during the second half of April, as the first half of the month was rather dry.
  • Although several storm systems moved through the region during the latter half of the month, the April 15-17 storm was particularly impressive. This large and slow-moving storm produced heavy precipitation across most of the region. Of the 8.08 inches (205 mm) of precipitation that Dodge City, Kansas received in April, 4.98 inches (126 mm) of it fell during this storm, which was the 8th highest 2-day total precipitation on record. In the western part of the region, the Front Range of Colorado and southeastern Wyoming received snowfall from this system. According to the National Weather Service office in Boulder, Colorado, snowfall rates of up to 3 inches (8 cm) per hour occurred with heavier bands, and some places in the foothills received more than 4 feet (122 cm) of snow! For example, the Genesee 1 SW CoCoRaHS station observer reported an impressive 54.0 inches (137 cm) of snow from that storm, which was the highest total reported in the state.
  • Both positive and negative impacts from the wetness in April have been reported. Generally, the rainfall was beneficial to agriculture in the Dakotas, as planting of spring wheat and small grains was ahead of schedule. Areas in drought received much-needed relief, and the threat for wildfires waned after a very active wildfire period in March in Kansas and Colorado. However, wet conditions created muddy fields and delayed planting of corn and soybeans, and farmers were concerned about wheat rust. Wheat rust was spotted in southern Nebraska at the end of March, and excessive moisture can cause it to spread, resulting in a reduction in wheat yields.
  • At the end of April, Colorado snowpack was above normal at approximately 107 percent of average statewide. Mountain ranges in the northern part of the state continued to fare best, while several SNOTEL sites in the San Juan range in southwestern Colorado were reporting below average snow water equivalent. This area of the state was much drier during the February-April period. In Wyoming, statewide snowpack was approximately 102 percent of average. A continuation of wet conditions allowed for additional recovery of snowpack throughout some parts of the state, including the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming where drought was present. Snowpack was below average in northwestern Wyoming where it was warmer and drier than other areas of the state.
  • Drought conditions expanded during the first half of April across the High Plains, as the warmth and dryness experienced by large parts of the region in March carried over into April. However, a pattern change during the last half of the month brought cooler and very wet conditions, which alleviated drought in many areas. By the end of April, the area in drought or abnormal dryness (D0-D4) was reduced to about a quarter of the region, compared to about half of the region at the end of March.
  • Drought expanded in two main areas during the first half of April - the Dakotas and Kansas/southeastern Colorado. Continued warm and dry conditions prompted the expansion of existing areas of moderate drought (D1) in these areas, and new areas of D1 appeared in western North Dakota and southeastern North Dakota/northeastern South Dakota. A small area of severe drought (D2) was introduced to extreme southeastern Colorado, which adjoined to the Oklahoma panhandle. Then, several storm systems brought copious amounts of rainfall to these areas, allowing for the elimination and/or reduction of drought during the latter half of April. D1 was removed in the Dakotas, as was the area of D2 in southeastern Colorado, and D1 was further reduced in Kansas.
  • The area in drought in northern Wyoming improved slightly in April. A snowstorm in late March boosted mountain snowpack, and a wet April allowed for some reduction of drought and abnormal dryness in the northern part of the state.
  • For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
  • As was the case in February and March, April average temperatures in the Southern Region were consistently above normal for all six states. Temperature anomalies were generally 0-3 degrees F (0-1.67 degrees C) above normal across the entire region. Some areas of eastern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas averaged between 4-6 degrees F (2.22-3.33 degrees C) above the expected monthly normals. The statewide monthly average temperatures were as follows: Arkansas reporting 62.60 degrees F (17.00 degrees C), Louisiana reporting 68.10 degrees F (20.06 degrees C), Mississippi reporting 65.30 degrees F (18.50 degrees C), Oklahoma reporting 61.50 degrees F (16.39 degrees C), Tennessee reporting 59.70 degrees F (15.39 degrees C), and Texas reporting 66.00 degrees F (18.89 degrees C). All state rankings fell on the warmer side of normal. For Louisiana and Oklahoma, it was the twenty-ninth warmest April on record, while Mississippi experienced their thirtieth warmest. For Arkansas and Tennessee, it was their thirty-second and thirty-third warmest April on record, respectively. The state of Texas experienced its thirty-fourth warmest April. All state rankings are based on the period spanning 1895-2016.
  • April precipitation in the Southern Region varied spatially across the Southern Region. Much of Texas experienced a much wetter month than normal, with a majority of stations reporting over twice the normal amount of precipitation for the month. Conditions were also quite wet in northeastern and southwestern Louisiana, and southwestern Arkansas. Conversely, conditions were quite dry in Tennessee, where most stations averaged roughly fifty to seventy percent of normal precipitation. This was also the case for the western Texas panhandle and along the southern tip of Texas. The state-wide precipitation totals for the month are as follows: Arkansas reporting 5.39 inches (136.91 mm), Louisiana reporting 6.67 inches (169.42 mm), Mississippi reporting 5.64 inches (143.26 mm), Oklahoma reporting 5.74 inches (145.80 mm), Tennessee reporting 3.09 inches (78.49 mm), and Texas reporting 4.22 inches (107.19 mm). The state precipitation rankings for the month are as follows: Arkansas (forty-fifth wettest)), Louisiana (twenty-seventh wettest), Mississippi (forty-sixth wettest), Oklahoma (tenth wettest), Tennessee twenty-third driest), and Texas (ninth wettest). All state rankings are based on the period spanning 1895-2016.
  • Drought conditions across the Southern Region have improved in western Oklahoma and northwestern Texas. Above normal rainfall has helped alleviate soil moisture storage deficits and that section of the region is almost drought-free. Drier than normal conditions in Tennessee, however, have led to the expansion of some moderate drought in the central and eastern counties of the state.
  • Heavy rainfall on the seventeenth and eighteenth of April crippled the city of Houston, with stations reporting well over ten inches of rainfall. Radar estimates for the event suggest between ten and fifteen inches. According to CNN, at least five people were reported dead from flooding. The flooding also forced hundreds of residents out of their homes, and caused power outages all over the city. Approximately 1200 residents were rescued due to dangers from high water. In Harris County, over 1000 homes were flooded.
  • With respect to the flooding in Texas, Cy Fair and Klein school districts canceled classes for a short period of time and estimate $4 million of damage was done at both campuses. Grayson County, San Antonio, and north Texas saw severe weather damage aside from flooding. The Texas Insurance Council believes the San Antonio hail storm during mid-April will be the costliest on record. Over $1 billion in automobile, house, and business damages are expected with 110,000 cars and thousands of homes damaged. (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).
  • Severe weather report days occurred throughout the month, with notable occurrences on April 15 and 16, and April 26. On April 15 and 16, several tornadoes were reported across west central and central Texas. There were no reports of injuries or fatalities. On April 26, dozens of tornadoes were reported across eastern and central Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas. Most of the damage was limited to trees and power lines. There were no reports of injuries or fatalities.
  • In Texas, farmers and ranchers had a difficult April. The rains over the past year have helped increase the size of cattle herds along with increased cattle prices above average. However, market prices for crops are not doing well. Farmers are trying to reduce their losses instead of making profits. Corn and sorghum are doing well in terms of crop yields across the state. Thousands of acres of crops were flooded when heavy rains arrived, but some farmers welcomed the rain due to abnormally dry conditions. Wild pigs have been destroying crops and are estimated to cause $52 million in crop damages. The fishing season has been doing well with the on and off rains. Fishermen have been able to find a large number of fish due to an increase in water levels (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).
  • For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Region Climate Center)
  • April saw several slow-moving closed low-pressure systems travel across the West, bringing above normal precipitation to places such as the Southwest and Great Basin that had been drier than normal in the two preceding months. The Pacific Northwest and northern California saw a turn to drier conditions this month, accompanied by well above normal temperatures.
  • Strong high pressure over the Pacific Northwest produced well above normal temperatures during the beginning and middle of the month. Seattle, Washington observed its warmest April since records began in 1945 at an average 56.7 F (13.7 C). This included Seattle's all-time warmest April temperature of 89 F (31.7 C) on the 18th, which was also the first day of 2016 exceeding 80 F (26.7 C). Average Seattle high temperatures do not reach 80 F until May 28. In eastern Washington, Spokane observed its second warmest April in a 136-year record at 54.7 F (12.6 C), 7.7 F (3.2 C) above normal. Medford, Oregon, also recorded its second warmest April at 58.2 F (14.6 C), 5.5 F (3.1 C) above normal. This included the earliest >90 F (>32.2 C) day on record, when the mercury rose to 91 F (32.8 C) April 7th. Records for Medford began in 1911. In the western Great Basin, Reno, Nevada, observed its second warmest April at an average 54.9 F (12.7 C), in a record that begins in 1937. Warm temperatures helped to accelerate snow melt in the West, with many locations in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades seeing an earlier than usual maximum snowpack, up to a month early in the northern Cascades.
  • April brought above normal precipitation to the Desert Southwest, which had seen drier than normal conditions and increasing drought severity over the latter part of the winter. Las Vegas, Nevada, recorded 2.26 in (57 mm) over the course of the month, 54% of the city's typical annual precipitation and the second wettest April since records began in 1948. Needles, California, recorded 1.59 in (40 mm), 723% of the normal 0.22 in (6 mm) and the 4th wettest April since records began in 1941. In Arizona, Tucson observed 0.71 in (18 mm), 230% of normal precipitation. Areas of New Mexico also saw beneficial precipitation as well; Truth or Consequences recorded 0.95 in (24 mm), 305% of normal, and the 5th wettest April since records began in 1950. In the eastern Great Basin, Elko, Nevada logged its 6th wettest April on record at 1.99 in (51 mm), 200% of normal. Records for Elko began in 1888. Scattered areas of the Rocky Mountain states noted above normal precipitation as well. Riverton, Wyoming, received 3.82 in (97 mm), 390% of normal and the wettest April since records began in 1907. In north-central Montana, Chinook recorded its wettest April in a 122-year record at 4.03 in (102 mm), 443% of normal. At the month's end, snowpack was down to 75% of normal across the Cascades and northern and central Rockies. April snowfall helped put Great Basin ranges and the Colorado Rockies at near-normal snowpack. The Eastward draining basins of the Sierra Nevada were near normal, while basins on the western side of the Crest averaged to 61% of normal snowpack.
  • The Pacific Northwest and coastal southern California saw drier than normal conditions in April. In eastern Oregon, Burns recorded 0.11 in (3 mm) for the month, 12% of normal and the driest since records began in 1973. On Washington's Olympic Peninsula, Forks logged 3.28 in (83 mm), 35% of normal, tied for 8th driest since records began in 1907. On the southern California coast, Los Angeles saw 0.24 in (6 mm) rainfall, 26% of normal.
  • Temperatures in the upper tercile were observed across Alaska, with several locations experiencing record warmth. On the state's western coast, both Bethel and Kotzebue observed record warm Aprils, with 41.5 F (5.3 C), 14.5 F (8.1 C) above normal and 25.5 F (-3.6 C), 12.2 F (6.8 C) above normal, respectively. Records for Bethel began in 1923 and records for Kotzebue in 1897. Further south, Hawaii saw above normal temperatures throughout the state. Hilo recorded an average 75.3 F (24 C), 3.2 F (1.8 C) above normal and the warmest since records began in 1949. Precipitation was near normal for many windward locations and below normal in leeward areas. Lihue, Kauai logged 0.84 in (21 mm) of rainfall, 37% of normal and the 5th driest April in a 67-year record. Drought conditions expanded on the southern and western portions of Big Island this month, while some improvement was seen on windward coasts of all islands.
  • April 9th, 30th: Flooding in Las Vegas: Heavy rains in Las Vegas on the 9th produced flash flooding, resulting in 6 rescues from floodwaters. The airport recorded a daily record 0.81 in (21 mm). Heavy rains occurred again April 30th, with police responding to 90 vehicle crashes in the area. The flooding events resulted in minor damages.
  • April 15-17th: Heavy snow in Colorado's Front Range: A slow-moving closed low pressure storm stalled over Colorado on April 15-17th, producing upslope flow in the Front Range and resulting in snowfall totals up to 50 in (127 cm) in some higher elevation locations.
  • For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Overview for April 2016, published online May 2016, retrieved on May 28, 2016 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/?report=hazards.