APRIL SHOWERS ABOVE NORMAL IN NORTHEAST AND WEST,
PARTS OF SOUTH DRIER THAN AVERAGE
national temperature was above average for the contiguous United States
this past April despite anomalously cold temperatures at the end of
the month, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville,
N.C. Drier than average conditions prevailed in parts of the South
while much above average precipitation affected the West and Northeast.
The global land surface temperature was warmest on record for the
scientists report that the average temperature for the contiguous
United States for April (based on preliminary data) was 1.1°F
(0.6°C) above the mean for 1895-2004 (53.2°F, 11.8°C).
This was the 32nd warmest April on record, with widespread colder-than-average
conditions during the last week of the month contrasting above average
warmth earlier in April. The mean April temperature in 25 states
was above average, with 8 states in the much above average category.
Florida was much cooler than average for the month, and 3 other
southeastern states fell below the April average. Temperatures across
Alaska were mixed during April, but the state was warmer than average
overall with a statewide temperature of 1.4°F (0.8°C) above
the 1971-2000 mean, ranking 25th warmest since 1918.
Precipitation was near average for the nation as a whole, with unusually
dry conditions in the South (especially Texas, Okla.) and parts
of the Great Lakes region (especially Mich.). This contrasted with
above average wetness in the Northeast. Maine had its wettest April
on record, while as Florida, Nevada and three northeastern states
(N.Y., Vt., N.H.) had one of their top ten wettest Aprils on record.
A continuation of wetter-than-normal conditions in the Southwest
(Nevada had above normal precipitation for the 7th consecutive month)
further aided reservoirs in the region in a recovery from a multi-year
drought. However, the effects of the drought cannot be fully alleviated
in a single season.
an extremely dry winter, the Northwest had its second consecutive
wetter than average month. Seasonal snow pack remained 25 percent
below average in much of Oregon and Washington and less than 70
percent of average across a larger part of the Pacific Northwest
and northern Rockies. At the end of April, moderate-to-extreme drought
(as defined by a widely-used measure of drought – the Palmer
Drought Index) affected 54 percent of the Pacific Northwest (Wash.,
Ore., Idaho). This is 19 percent less than the recent peak in February.
Over 55 percent of the broader Northwest (Wash., Ore., Idaho, Mont.,
Wyo.) was also in moderate-to-extreme drought at the end of April.
significant late season snow fell across parts of the Midwest and
as far south as the southern Appalachians in late April, leaving
over 10 inches in areas of Michigan. Nearly a foot of snow fell
in Denver during the month with almost 10 inches in one storm.
The average global temperature anomaly for combined land and ocean
surfaces for April (based on preliminary data) was 1.21°F (0.67°C)
above the 1880-2004 long-term mean. This was the 2nd warmest such
month since 1880 (the beginning of reliable instrumental records).
The warmest April was in 1998 with an anomaly of 1.30°F (0.72°C)
above the mean. Land surface temperatures were warmest on record
for April with Australia setting a record for the most extreme monthly
temperature anomaly ever recorded. The Australian mean temperature
was 4.64°F (2.58°C) above average, 0.47°F (0.26°C)
warmer than the previous record, which occurred in June 1996. Anomalously
warm conditions also occurred across much of Europe and Scandinavia,
eastern China and the Middle East, while colder-than-average conditions
occurred in the southeastern U.S., extreme western Alaska and parts
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to Editors: A digital version of the press release including links
to data, graphics and analysis, in addition to further national and
global data are online at: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2005/apr/apr05.html.