BLOG: April Review, May Preview

April is in the books and wow did it end on a wet note. The rainy period over the last few days put Youngstown at close to 5″ of rain for the month. Here’s how this compares to average (also shown: the wettest April on record here in 1998): aprilcompareWe also recorded a little over 1″ of snow in April.

What about temperatures? For the month, it was actually a bit ABOVE average…the first time we have had a month on the “positive” side since December. Here’s a look at the temperature anomalies across North America: aprilDespite the more tolerable weather in April, the first 1/3 of 2014 is still WAYYY below average in a large chunk of the continent: yeartodate

So let’s talk about May. Although we are not gaining daylight as quickly as we did in March and April, the Sun is still getting higher in the sky and the days are getting longer. What the Sun is doing in May: sunmay

The strengthening Sun can lead to some hot weather in May. 90+ temperatures are not common, but not unheard of either. Here’s a list of years with 90+ days in May: 90smay

Especially in the early part of May, we are still susceptible to cold Canadian air masses invading occasionally. It can get down well into the 20s on rare occasions: 20smay

Snow? More than a “trace” is pretty rare:

snowmay

 

Be careful planting things too early. The next week is unlikely to bring subfreezing temperatures, but we can get a freeze as late as the 3rd week of May. Here’s a list of years with subfreezing temperatures after May 15: freezes

Notice last year is on the list.

The average date of the last freeze of the season is roughly May 7-10 across the Valley: lastfreeze

Ok, enough about the past. What about the future? How’s this May look? As you probably know, the Great Lakes are remarkably cold for this late in the season….with ice still found in the northern lakes. This is something we have to keep in mind; air masses that come out of Canada and across the lakes will get a little extra refrigeration this Spring and early Summer. That said, there should be enough warm air masses pushing in from the south and west to balance out those cool shots. Odds appear to favor a “typical” May in the temperature department. The average of the last week’s worth of runs of the Climate Forecast System (CFS) model shows our region with an “average” or perhaps slightly below average look: cfsmayNOAA’s outlook: noaamay

In the precipitation department, the CFS says “average”: cfsmayprecipNOAA has a forecast showing higher odds for an above average month in the Ohio Valley:noaaprecip

 

I will try and do an outlook for the Summer later this month. As always, thanks for reading!!

Eric

 

 

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