Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring: the battle between winter and summer in Nebraska

I have been asked by several news sources today "how can it be so warm (85F) in Lincoln on Saturday April 12 yet the next evening Sunday April 13 it is snowing and temperatures are near freezing"? I was also asked several times today "isn't an April snowfall in Lincoln extremely rare"? And I have also been asked today "why is this April so very cold across the U.S.?

April Snowfalls not all that uncommon:
First of all here are some interesting April snowfall facts for Lincoln.

Lincoln April snowfalls: 115 years of data
54 Aprils had measurable snowfall (47% of the years) and
61 Aprils had no measurable snowfall (53% of the years)
So, an April snowfall is NOT all that unusual. 
The odds of an April snowfall increase as you go west in Nebraska with an almost 60% climatological chance of measurable snow in April in western Nebraska.

The 2013-14 Lincoln Snowfall is well below normal:
Seasonal 2013-14 snowfall total for Lincoln so far  is 18.2 inches and the normal is 27.5 inches.  So this winter has actually been 9.3 inches BELOW normal.

So far this month, most of the US is warmer than normal. 
The April 1-13 map (below) shows that much of the U.S. (48 states) is (yellow to orange) warmer than normal for the month. The concept here is what we may be experiencing locally is not necessarily indicative of the rest of the U.S.

Why do we experience these large temperature contrasts in Winter and Spring?
It was 85F on Saturday in Lincoln, one degree below a record high.  We are on the 50-yard line of the football field of weather and there is always going to be a contrast here with cold air to our north and warm air to our south battling it out for supremacy. If you lived in Florida it will always be warm.  If you live up in Canada it will always be cold.  We are in the middle.

Check this out: Lincoln Temperature extremes the last few months
Dec. 2013 highest and lowest temperatures   65F and -10F
Jan. 2014 highest and lowest temperatures    66F and -11F
Feb. 2014 highest and lowest temperatures   69F and -13F
Mar. 2014 highest and lowest temperatures   78 F and -7F
Apr. 2014 highest and lowest temperatures    85F and 25F

Yes it will get cold again later this week since winter is not dead yet.  Cold air will return on Thursday and then summer will push north again warming us for the weekend,.  Eventually, soon, summer will be strong enough to hold back winter weather until next fall when they battle it out again.

Do you remember last May 2013?  

On May 1-2, 2013 it snowed in Lincoln and the temperature fell to 31F then it rapidly warmed to 73F. 
May 1-2, 2013 2.7 inches of snow
May7, 2013, 73F

But even more dramatic was the record low of 31F on May 12 and two days later it was a record warm day of 100F.

May 2013:
May 12, 2013 Record Low 31F
May 14, 2013 Record High of 100F


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.