State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says the just completed month of April helped push the state to a new weather record.
“For the first third of the year temperature wise, running about 7.4 degrees above normal, for the first four months of 2012. Preliminarily that would be the warmest first third of the year on record, about three-tenths of a degree above 1878, which had been the previous warmest January through April period in Iowa,” Hillaker explains.
April was the seventh straight month were we’ve seen the average temperature end above the norm. Hillaker says April averaged about three degrees above normal, which made it end up just under one degree above the average temperature in March.
“So if it seems like this month was not much warmer than the previous (month), that would be correct, they are both very similar,” Hillaker says. There was some April fooling going on by Mother Nature when it came to the temperatures, as Hillaker says the month started warmer than it finished.
“The first half of the month was averaging about 6 degrees warmer than usual. The second half of April was slightly cooler than normal… usually you kind of expect things to be the other way around,” the climatologist says. Hillaker says April provided another possible record when you compare the temperatures from the eastern cities to the temperatures in March.
“One interesting little tidbit for what it’s worth, most of eastern Iowa actually averaged warmer temperatures for the month of March than it did for the month of April,” Hillaker says. “Places like Waterloo, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, the Quad Cities, were slightly warmer in March than they were in April. Most likely that’s the first time that’s ever happened.”
The numbers show April was wetter than average too. Hillaker says the statewide average was 3.9 inches of precipitation in April, which is about one-half inch more than the average for April.
He says that ranks it as the 31st wettest April in 140 years of records, and it is very similar to the April totals the last three years. Hillaker says the first third of the year saw about two-thirds of an inch more rainfall than we usually see, but he says it’s about what we’ve seen over the same period the last few years.
It ranks as the 29th wettest first four months of the year on the state record books. There is a possibility that we also saw the first snowless April since 1890. Hillaker says there was a report of sleet on April 28th, which is technically considered snow.