NOAA 2005-052
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2005
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The 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 month.

U.S. Temperature:

  • NOAA 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.

U.S. Precipitation:

  • 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.
  • Following 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.
  • SSome 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 of Russia.

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Note 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: