A Warm and Rain-Soaked April
The run of well-above normal average temperatures was slowed in March courtesy of more frequent cold spells and even the re-emergence of snow. Once again, however, this was fairly short lived, as the warmer pattern roared back for the meteorological spring’s second month, April. In terms of the old adage “April showers bring May flowers,” there was certainly plenty of rain to go around in what turned out to be an active month as well.
2017 has been a warm year in the Midwest so far, and April was certainly no exception. The region finished between 4 and 8 degrees above normal for average temperature overall. Like a broken record, many areas saw record or near-record setting warmth for yet another month. The balmy average of 53.8 degrees at O’Hare Airport finished 3rd warmest on record, with Rockford’s 53.2 degrees climbing to 6th in the rankings. Indianapolis, which finished at 59.3 degrees, moved up to 2nd.
This was a record-setter however in Ohio, with Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus topping out in first place for mean temperature at 60.8, 58.0, and 59.7, respectively. It was not just the main central and western cities either, as it was just about the entire state. For perspective, even Cleveland broke their record with 57.4 degrees. In all cases, it was by a fairly wide margin, between 1 and 2 degrees on the plus side!
While the Midwest is not completely unaccustomed to seeing snow in April, in the case of 2017, there was no measurable snow for the month in any of the major cities. O’Hare airport did not even report flakes, or a “trace”, which only occurred 5 other times in its recorded history. Cold air was also very hard to come by. O’Hare came in with 11 days of highs hitting 70 degrees or higher, while Indianapolis clocked in with 17 days, 3 of them in the 80s. Both cities only saw 4 days which maxed out 5 degrees or less below normal. Chicago finished April on the downswing, with back to back days stuck in the 40s on the 29th and 30th.
Besides the warmth, the other highlight of April turned out to be the widespread surplus of rainfall, particularly in the state of Illinois. It was an all-out soaking at times for Chicagoland. O’Hare came in with a 3.05” surplus in the rain gauges with 6.43” for the month, ranking 4th on record for the rainiest April for the city. Indianapolis, Dayton and Cincinnati also all finished between 1.25 - 2.00" above normal for the month on average.
The month was also highlighted by some severe weather, sprinkled about the region at different times. Numerous reports of hail were sprawled out across northern Illinois on the 9th and 10th. A vigorous cold front then brought widespread reports of wind damage to parts of Indiana on the 26th. Outside of these events, and the surplus of rain, weather across the board finished rather tame for our transition into May.