Stats on Early April Cold and Snow in the Northeast

Posted: May 3, 2016, 5:03 am by abarney

As cold air poured into the Northeast during the first 10 days of April, some places were colder (on average) than what it was in March. However, the snow events on April 3 and 4th really put an exclamation point on the April cold for residents of New England. In fact, any mixing with rain was relegated to the southern borders of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Many north of that line received meaningful (in some cases significant) accumulations of snow. Let's investigate whether or not this storm was out of the ordinary.

Spoiler alert: it was unusual, but not unprecedented.   

  

Visible satellite imagery from April 5th, 2016. After the storm, snow cover was visible from space.

 

While individual daily snowfall records in many spots are not too difficult to break in April, pushing into the top 10 single-day snowfall events at some of the major reporting stations is definitely a challenge. It not only depends on the right combination of sufficient cold air and moisture to produce snow, but also is dependent on how hard it snows. In April, due to the high sun angle, it usually takes a heavy snowfall (think 1”+ per hour rates) to produce significant accumulation during the daytime… even in southern New England. That’s why reaching the top 10 and even top 5 greatest daily snowfall amounts in April is quite impressive! Take a look at the data below. 

 

Table of the top 10 snowfall records at four observing locations in New England, with the April 2016 snowstorm bolded. 

 

As you can see, the snow events on the 3rd and 4th produced some impressive accumulations for April. However, one of the takeaways from this list is that it isn’t unheard of to have significant accumulation of snow in April. You will also note that most of these top 10 events took place in the first half of April. There are a few exceptions, with a few large late April events making the list for Boston and Worcester.

Besides the snow events, some record cold temperatures were set in early April as well. Some locations even saw record low maximum temperatures (the coldest high temperatures for that date) broken. Below you will find a list of some of these records. Average temperatures during the period were anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees below normal!  

 

 

Temperature records set during the first few days of April in 2016. 

 

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