April 2017: Snow to Summer-Like Heat

Posted: May 10, 2017, 10:15 am by chewitt

For those who did not enjoy the cold spells that March brought, April provided some relief as warmer weather made a comeback. Wintry weather from the end of March did spill into the beginning of the month, however, but this was the last major winter storm to affect the Northeast. And while New England dealt with snow, sleet, and freezing rain, the rest of the region experienced mostly rain. In the end, April ended up 3 – 6 degrees above normal with quite a few warm-ups, especially during the second and third week.

A system moving in from the west initially brought mainly rain on March 31st, but cold air flowed in overnight into the 1st, causing a changeover to snow, sleet, and freezing rain. This affected the very northeastern areas of PA through most of New England, the latter of which received up to 4 – 8” in Massachusetts with even a foot falling in New Hampshire. Following the storm, calm weather took over for the next few days.

Much needed rain then arrived on the 4th as a large system moved over the Great Lakes, overspreading the area with steady and heavy rain, especially north of Maryland. The low pressure system meandered into Canada afterwards, continuing to keep it unsettled until another storm moved in from the Great Plains. This hosed the region with heavy rain on the 6th which included Maryland and Virginia. These two storms alone helped give 1.5-2.0”+ of rainfall, beating back any remaining areas of outstanding drought and helping propel the upcoming spring bloom. This also unfortunately came with a bout severe weather with dozens of wind damage reports in the Mid-Atlantic and even six tornadoes, one of which occurred in the nation’s capital!

A cool-down followed which helped a few snow showers to sneak back in on the 7th across far interior locations of the Northeast. Then after a wet and unsettling first week, rather calm conditions took over as high pressure took the wheel. Those who love warm weather rejoiced as the switch to southerly winds also helped push temperatures well above normal with 10 – 20 degree departures. Boston, MA, Hartford, CT, Baltimore, MD, and Washington, D.C. all broke records with high temperatures well into the 80s and even low 90s on the 11th. On the 12th, a front briefly brought more seasonable weather and rain showers back for a few days before another warm up occurred by the third week.

Although not record-breaking, temperatures soared into the 80s and even 90s again on the 16th before a few more cold fronts brought back cooler weather. A couple of systems also moved in during the last two weeks although none were quite washouts like earlier storms. However, given the time of year, a few resulted in severe weather with hail and wind reports in Maryland and Virginia on the 21st.

Another brief warm-up occurred to wrap up the month as temperatures once again reached into the 80s. Overall, many areas also were not too far from breaking their monthly averages. Cities like New York City and Baltimore experienced their second warmest April on record. Others like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. ended up having a record-warm April. In terms of precipitation, the month was generally near normal, especially thanks to the winter storm and two rain events toward the beginning of April. Parts of southeastern New England were even well above normal; Boston, MA received about 2 inches of above normal precipitation.

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