Spring arrived at 6:44 this morning, ending a long Iowa winter that’s been colder and wetter than normal. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says it may not have seemed like such a bad winter because it’s been so mild in recent weeks, with very little snowfall.
"February, in particular, was a major difference from what we had a year ago," Hillaker says. "Temperatures were much above normal during February and also much drier than normal, but December and January, to start off the winter, were both quite a bit on the colder side of normal and December, in particular, was much wetter than usual as well."
He says many Iowans will be glad to put this winter behind them, especially when they recall just how cold it was during the past few months. Hillaker says there was some extremely cold air that hit Iowa during mid-January that knocked low temperatures down around 40-degrees below zero with some cities recording new all-time record lows, not just lows for the date but the lowest temperatures ever recorded. Some areas of Iowa recorded wind chill factors that were lower than 50-below.
As for the Spring ahead, Hillaker says we’re now in what’s known as a La Nina weather pattern. "What it’s typically brought to Iowa in years past has been, for the month of April, is very often been wetter than normal when La Nina’s been around and temperatures close to normal, maybe a little below-normal on average," he says. "May is kind of a toss-up, it could go either way."
He says one thing that’s almost certain is, there’ll be plenty of temperature extremes in the next few weeks — with highs in the 70s and 80s one day and then back down in the 20s and 30s the next.