The State of the Climate Summary Information is a synopsis of the collection of national and global summaries released each month.
National Summary Information - April 2016
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For extended analysis of regional temperature and precipitation patterns,as well as extreme events, please see our full report that will be released on May 11th.
Warm April contributes to second warmest year to date for contiguous US
Alaska continues to experience record warmth
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 January-April temperature was 43.1°F, 4.0°F above the 20th century average, making it the second warmest on record. 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. The January-April precipitation total was 9.92 inches, 0.45 inch above average and the 38th wettest.
This analysis of U.S. temperature and precipitation is based on data back to January 1895, resulting in 122 years of data.
Supplemental April 2016 Information
U.S. climate highlights: April
- 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. 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.
- 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 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.
U.S. climate highlights: year-to-date (January-April)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 U.S.
For extended analysis of regional temperature and precipitation patterns, as well as extreme events, please see our full report that will be released on May 11th.