National Overview:

April Extreme Weather/Climate Events

  • Climate Highlights — April
  • Warmer-than-average temperatures engulfed much of the contiguous United States during April, and the nationally-averaged temperature was 55.7 degrees F, 3.6 degrees F above average — the third warmest on record. The precipitation averaged across the nation was 2.23 inches, 0.20 inch below average.
  • Warmer-than-average temperatures were present for a large portion of the nation during April — six states in the central U.S. and three states in the Northeast had April temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Above-average temperatures were also present for the Southeast, Upper Midwest, and much of the West. No state in the contiguous United States had April temperatures that were below average.
  • April 2012 came on the heels of the warmest March on record for the Lower-48, and eight states — Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin,Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — had April temperatures which were, despite being warmer than normal, were still not as warm as their March temperatures.
  • Statewide precipitation totals were mixed during April, with wetter-than-average conditions across the West Coast and Northern and Central Plains. Oregon had its seventh wettest April on record. Drier-than-average conditions were present from Texas, along the Gulf Coast, stretching northward into the Great Lakes. Tennessee had its sixth driest April on record, while Alabama had its eighth driest.
  • The warmer-than-average conditions, which have persisted for several months, limited snowfall over a large portion of the country. According to the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the April snow cover extent across the contiguous United States was the third smallest on record, despite the late season Nor’easter which impacted the Northeast near the end of April.
  • According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, there were 228 preliminary tornado reports during April, which is above average. The majority of the tornadoes occurred during an April 14th outbreak across the Central Plains. However, tornado activity during April 2012 paled in comparison to April 2011, when over 750 tornadoes wreaked havoc across the Southeast, causing significant damage and loss of life.
  • A list of select April temperature and precipitation records can be found here.
  • Year-to-Date (January-April)
  • January-April 2012 was the warmest such period on record for the contiguous United States, with an average temperature of 45.4 degrees F, 5.4 degrees F above the long-term average. Twenty-six states, all east of the Rockies, were record warm for the four-month period, and an additional 17 states had temperatures for the period among their ten warmest.
  • The first four months of 2012 were drier than average for the contiguous United States as a whole, with some regional variability. The eastern third of the nation was drier than average, where Maryland and Delaware were record dry, and an additional six states had precipitation totals ranking among the ten driest. Drier-than-average conditions were also present for much of the Interior West.
  • Wetter-than-average conditions occurred across the central regions of the country and the Pacific Northwest, where the above-average precipitation contributed to higher than normal mountain snowpack at the end of the snow season. The amount of snowpack at this time of year is important in determining the water supply for the region during the upcoming summer period.
  • According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of May 1st, 38.2 percent of the contiguous United States was experiencing drought conditions, an increase from the 31.9 percent at the beginning of 2012. Drought worsened across the Northeast, Southeast, and the interior West, while beneficial precipitation significantly improved drought conditions across the Southern Plains and western Gulf of Mexico.
  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was a record 42 percent during the January-April period, over twice the average value. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures (82 percent) and warm nighttime temperatures (68 percent) covered a large area of the nation, contributing to the record high value.
  • 12-month period (May 2011-April 2012)
  • The 12-month period (May 2011-April 2012), which includes several warm periods for the country — second hottest summer, fourth warmest winter, and warmest March — was the warmest consecutive 12-month period for the contiguous United States. Twenty-two states were record warm for the 12-month period, and an additional 19 states were top ten warm. The 12-month running average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 55.7 degrees F, which is 2.8 degrees F above the 20th century average.

Alaska Temperature and Precipitation:

  • Alaska had its 26th warmest April since records began in 1918, with a temperature 2.2°F (1.2°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 41st warmest February-April since records began in 1918, with a temperature 0.2°F (0.1°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 14th coolest January-April since records began in 1918, with a temperature 3.4°F (1.9°C) below the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 45th wettest April since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 0.1 percent above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 34th wettest February-April since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 17.2 percent above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 42nd wettest January-April since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 9.7 percent above the 1971–2000 average.

For additional details about recent temperatures and precipitation across the U.S., see the Regional Highlights section below and visit the Climate Summary page". For information on local temperature and precipitation records during the month, please visit NCDC's Records page. For details and graphics on weather events across the U.S. and the globe please visit NCDC's Global Hazards page.

Regional Highlights:

These regional summaries were provided by the six Regional Climate Centers and reflect conditions in their respective regions. These six regions differ spatially from the nine climatic regions of the National Climatic Data Center.

  • Northeast Region: (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
  • The Northeast’s average temperature was 46.8 degrees F (8.2 degrees C) in April. This was only 0.6 degrees F (0.3 degrees C) warmer than normal the average this month was the closest to normal since August 2011 when the departure was +0.5 degrees F (0.3 degrees C). It was the first month since October 2011 that all the states in the region did not average warmer than normal. Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia ended the month cooler than normal. April’s temperature departures ranged from 0.3 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) below normal in West Virginia to 2.7 degrees F (1.5 degrees C) above normal in New Hampshire. It was the 5th warmest April since 1895 in Rhode Island, the 9th warmest in Maine and New Hampshire and the 14th warmest in Connecticut. It was the warmest year-to-date (January through April) in the Northeast and in all the states in the region except Maine, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Those three states had their 3rd warmest January through April since 1895.
  • Precipitation totals averaged below normal for the third consecutive month. April’s regional total of 2.95 inches (74.9 cm) was 81 percent of normal. Maine was the sole state to average wetter than normal and had a departure of 121 percent. Departures among the drier-than-normal states ranged from 91 percent in Vermont to 55 percent in Pennsylvania, where it was the 16th driest April in 118 years. It was the driest January through April since 1895 in Delaware and Maryland, the 2nd driest in Connecticut and New Jersey, and the 5th driest in New Hampshire and the Northeast.
  • Four consecutive dry and warm months worsened the drought conditions in parts of the Northeast. As of April 24, 2012, the U.S. Drought Monitor had much of the eastern third of the region in moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought. A few locations in Massachusetts had implemented mandatory or voluntary outdoor water use restrictions during the month. The agricultural community in Delaware and eastern Maryland was also impacted by the dry weather some farmers have waited to plant crops due to low soil moisture while others have been irrigating a practice not typically needed during the spring. An increase in brush fires throughout the region prompted bans on outdoor burning. One fire in southeastern New York destroyed 30 buildings and spread over 50 acres at a former Catskill resort.
  • A late season Nor’easter brought up to 3 inches (76.2 mm) of much needed rain to eastern New England on the 23rd, easing drought concerns there, but also dumped heavy wet snow on parts of western NY, north central and southwestern PA, and the eastern West Virginia mountains. For some locations, including Ithaca, NY with 6.0 inches (15.2 cm), it was the greatest one-day snow total of the 2011-2012 snow season. The snow fell on trees already leafed out due to the warm temperatures this spring, breaking limbs, toppling trees, and downing power lines. At least 50,000 customers in the Northeast were without power due to the storm.
  • Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
  • April temperatures were near normal in the eastern part of the Midwest and above normal in the western parts of the region. Departures were within 2 degrees F (1 C) of normal for most of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin and increased to the west with temperatures 3 to 5 degrees F (2 to 3 C) above normal along the western edge of the region. Typically, temperatures warm from March to April by about 10 to 15 degrees F (6 to 9 C) but April 2012 was about the same or cooler than March 2012 for most of the Midwest. The month to month change ranged from +2 degrees F (+1 C) to -3 degrees F (-2 C) for most of the Midwest with warming of 2 to 5 degree F (1 to 3 C) in southwest Missouri, northwest Iowa, most of Minnesota, and small parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. Selected Midwest cities that recorded cooler April temperatures versus March included Dubuque, Iowa, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, and St. Louis, Missouri. In Dubuque, Iowa, 2012 was the first time in 162 years that April was cooler than March. The majority of the April temperature records were record highs in the first four days of the month with record lows peaking in the last week of the month.
  • April precipitation varied with above normal precipitation in most of the western half of the Midwest and below normal precipitation in the southeastern half of the region. Totals exceeded 150 percent of normal in parts of Minnesota, Missouri, and Illinois while totals failed to reach 50 percent of normal further to the south and east, including parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. April snows were recorded in the northern parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio with only north central Minnesota topping normal for the month. Though the total Midwest area in drought shrank slightly in April, the locations affected spread into parts of Illinois and Kentucky.
  • Several April freezes affected much of the Midwest, sparing only parts of Missouri and locations along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Though the timing of the freezes was not unusual, record warmth in March led to many plants having unusually early growth. Though farmers held off on planting corn and soybeans to meet crop insurance guidelines for freeze coverage, damage was widespread to fruit trees, grape vines, and winter wheat crops. With good weather to prepare fields earlier in the spring, rapid planting of corn occurred once the insurance guideline for each state was reached. Corn plantings reached 70 percent or more complete in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri by the end of April compared to 5-year averages in the 20 to 45 percent range for those states.
  • Severe weather in April touched seven of the nine states in the region, sparing Wisconsin and Michigan, and was blamed for two deaths. An outbreak of severe weather on the Great Plains April 14th extended across southern Iowa with seven reported tornadoes in the state. Thurman, Iowa in Freemont County was reported 75 percent destroyed by an EF2 tornado but there were no major injuries. A strong low pressure system tracked northeast on the 15th through the 17th, brought snow to the upper Midwest, set off severe thunderstorms along a trailing cold front, and led to wind advisories for much of the region as winds gusted to 55 miles per hour (90 km per hour) knocking out power to nearly 250,000 customers in Michigan alone. The strong winds on the 16th felled a tree on a van in Van Buren County, Michigan causing one death. Another death, along with five serious injuries, occurred on the 28th when severe storms swept through downtown St. Louis, Missouri. The sudden, strong winds collapsed and blew away a beer tent at a downtown venue, with nearly 200 people in the tent at that time. To the east, hail stones in Washington County, Illinois were reported to reach 4.50 inches (over 11 cm), wind gusts in Indiana reached 90 miles per hour (150 km per hour), and thousands lost power in Kentucky.
  • For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest, see the weekly summaries in the Midwest Climate Watch page.
  • Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Mean temperatures in April were generally above average across the Southeast region. The greatest departures were found across Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, eastern sections of North Carolina and Virginia, and northern Florida, where monthly temperatures were 2 to 4 degrees F (1.1 to 2.2 degrees C) above average. Temperatures across much of Virginia, North Carolina, South Florida, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, were near average (within 1 degree F or 0.5 degrees C) for the month. Interestingly, a few stations in the region were cooler in April than they were in March, including Lynchburg, VA, Raleigh, NC, and Dulles Airport near Washington D.C. The warm temperatures from March extended into the first week of April, as more than 250 daily maximum temperature records were tied or broken from the 1st to the 5th of the month. Temperatures reached 90 degrees F (32.2 degrees C) in the upstate of South Carolina and 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C) across central Virginia. The warm weather this spring led to the earliest last freeze on record at Charlottesville, VA, which occurred on March 11 (period of record: 119 years). This is a week earlier than the previous record, which last occurred in 1929. Frost and freeze conditions were reported across Virginia and the Carolinas as well as at some locations across northern Alabama and Georgia on the 12th and 13th of the month as high pressure from Canada overspread much of the eastern U.S. More chilly temperatures were recorded in the wake of a strong cyclone moving up the eastern seaboard from the 22nd to the 24th of the month. Over 140 daily low maximum and over 70 daily minimum temperature records were tied or broken during this period, mostly across Alabama and Florida.
  • Monthly precipitation was below average across most of the Southeast in April. In particular, the southern tier of the region (except for South Florida), as well as eastern portions of North Carolina and northern Virginia, recorded less than 50 percent of normal precipitation for the month. The driest locations were found across central portions of Alabama and Georgia, where monthly precipitation totals were less than 25 percent of normal. Columbus, GA recorded 0.49 inches (12.5 mm) of precipitation for the month, making it the 2nd driest April in a record extending back to 1948. In contrast, the wettest locations were found across western North Carolina and south Florida, where monthly precipitation was at least 150 percent and 200 percent of normal, respectively. Brevard, NC recorded 6.4 inches (162.6 mm) of precipitation on the 19th of the month, which broke the previous monthly 24-hr rainfall total of 3.7 inches (93.9 mm) (period of record: 110 years). For the month, Miami, FL recorded 7.85 inches (199.4 mm) of precipitation (250 percent of normal), while Duck Key, FL recorded 9.73 inches (247.1 mm). A strong coastal cyclone contributed to widespread precipitation totals of 2 to 3 inches (50.8 to 76.2 mm) across far eastern sections of North Carolina and Virginia from the 22nd to the 23rd of the month. This system also contributed up to 2 inches (50.8 mm) of snowfall along the higher elevations of western North Carolina. Monthly precipitation was 50 to 100 percent of normal across the interior of Puerto Rico, but as much as 200 percent of normal along the southern and eastern slopes.
  • There were 171 reports of severe weather across the Southeast in April. The only confirmed tornado was a waterspout that moved onshore near Naples, FL on the 6th of the month. Several small trees and power lines were blown down, resulting in an EF-0 rating. Many reports of hail and damaging thunderstorm winds were found across central Alabama, western North Carolina, and along the North Carolina-South Carolina border. High wind reports were also scattered across Georgia and along the eastern Florida Peninsula. Crop damage from hail and high wind were reported across parts of southern Georgia. Overall, it was a much quieter month in terms of severe weather compared to last April, when the Southeast recorded a record 1,877 severe weather reports.
  • Drought conditions continued to worsen across the Southeast in April. One notable exception was south Florida, which saw an elimination of drought conditions due to the heavy rains there. The area of exceptional drought (D4) expanded across southeast Alabama, southern Georgia, and into the northeast Panhandle of Florida, while the area of extreme drought (D3) expanded into South Carolina and central Florida. Areas of severe drought (D2) expanded into southeast Virginia, while moderate drought (D1) conditions re-emerged across northern sections of Alabama and Georgia. The warm, dry weather contributed to several large wildfires, including one that burned over 35,000 acres near the Florida-Georgia border and impacted air quality from the northeast Florida Panhandle all the way to the Tampa Bay area. Warm temperatures and lack of precipitation over the past six months continued to reduce stream flow and groundwater levels across parts of the Southeast, particularly southern Georgia where most gauge stations were in the bottom 10 percent or at their record low level by the end of April. Conversely, the warm weather resulted in Florida watermelons shipping as much as 2 weeks early with larger volumes than last year. The cold weather at the beginning and end of the month caused damage to the apple, blueberry, and blackberry crops in western North Carolina, with projected losses exceeding 40 percent. The cold weather also caused damage to the Bermuda grass that had begun to emerge across northern Georgia.
  • For more information, please go to the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • High Plains Region: (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center)
  • The High Plains Region was warm again this month. Similar to March, based on preliminary data, every station in the Region had above normal temperatures. Monthly temperature departures of 4.0-6.0 degrees F (1.1-3.3 degrees C) above normal were widespread across the Region and areas where temperature departures were 6.0-8.0 degrees F (3.3-4.4 degrees C) above normal included central and eastern Colorado, central and northeastern Wyoming, western South Dakota, the panhandle of Nebraska, and southeastern Kansas. The warmth caused numerous locations to be ranked in the top 10 warmest Aprils on record. Wichita, Kansas had its 5th warmest April on record with an average temperature of 62.5 degrees F (16.9 degrees C) which was 7.2 degrees F (4.0 degrees C) above normal (period of record 1888-2012). The record from 1981 and 1896 stood at 63.7 degrees F (17.6 degrees C). The warm conditions this spring allowed for planting progress, especially of corn, to be ahead of schedule throughout the Region. Going into April, there were concerns in the southern portion of the Region about the possibility of freeze damage as the average last freeze date is around mid-April to early May. While freezing temperatures did occur, only slight freeze damage was reported. Aside from agriculture, plant development in general was ahead of schedule. In southeast Nebraska, for instance, roses and peonies were blooming about 5 weeks ahead of schedule.
  • Precipitation varied across the Region this month. Much of the eastern half of the Region had precipitation totals which were higher than normal, while lower than normal precipitation areas included most of Wyoming, the western half of Colorado, central and northeastern Kansas, and isolated pockets in Nebraska and the Dakotas. Most of the above normal precipitation locations ranged from 125-200 percent of normal, but there were pockets of 200-400 percent of normal precipitation that occurred in east-central Colorado, west-central Nebraska, east-central South Dakota, and southeastern North Dakota. Although monthly records were not broken, there were some daily precipitation records and most of these occurred in the middle and at the end of the month. The severe storms of April 14th were accompanied by heavy rainfall of 2-3 inches (51-76 mm) across portions of northern Kansas, Nebraska, and eastern South Dakota. April 30th was extremely wet in southern Kansas, near the Oklahoma border. Take, for instance, Parsons 2 NW, Kansas which received 5.35 inches (136 mm) of precipitation on that day. This one-day precipitation total was more than what Parsons usually gets in the entire month of April (normal April precipitation is 3.82 inches (97 mm)). This also completely crushed the old daily record of 2.68 inches (68 mm) which was set in 1954 (period of record 1925-2012). Snowfall was sparse this month and due to the continued warmth, snow pack has declined in the mountainous portions of the Region. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, by the end of the month, the statewide snowpack was 19 percent of average in Colorado and 45 percent of average in Wyoming. The low snowpack has raised concerns about irrigation water availability for the growing season. In addition, according to the Denver Post, Independence Pass was scheduled to open two weeks ahead of schedule because of the lack of snow in the mountains. The pass usually opens the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend. There were many changes again to the U.S. Drought Monitor this month. The drought conditions in the areas near the Colorado-Kansas border have continued to improve as all extreme drought conditions (D3) have been erased and only a couple of small areas of severe drought conditions (D2) remain. In eastern South Dakota, D2 was downgraded to moderate drought conditions (D1) and some drought conditions were completely eliminated in the northwest portion of the state. Although recent rains have led to improvements in these areas, others have seen degradation. The small area of D2 in western Colorado has expanded to include much of the west-central portion of the state. A patch of D1 that was in western South Dakota has been extended north into North Dakota and south into the panhandle of Nebraska. Abnormally dry conditions (D0) were also expanded to include eastern Wyoming and small areas of D1 have also crept into southern portions of the state. According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought outlook released on April 19th, drought conditions were expected to improve in areas of the Dakotas and eastern Nebraska. Drought conditions elsewhere in the High Plains Region were expected to persist or develop.
  • April was an active severe weather month across the High Plains Region. Severe weather was reported somewhere in the Region on 15 days and resulted in a total of 396 reports (tornadoes, high winds, and large hail). The most notable severe weather day was the April 14th severe weather outbreak which brought high winds, large hail, flash flooding, and tornadoes, some of which were long-tracked, to the Region. The severe weather started in the morning and lasted until the early hours of April 15th. Ultimately, at least 50 tornadoes, ranging in strength from EF0-EF4, were confirmed.
  • For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
  • Like March, April was generally a warmer than normal month for the Southern Region. For the most part, temperatures averaged between 2 and 4 degrees F (1.11 and 2.22 degrees C) above expected values. The highest anomalies occurred in northwestern Texas and western Oklahoma, were many stations experienced average temperatures that ranged from 6 to 8 degrees F (3.33 to 4.44 degrees C) above normal. State average temperature Texas was 70.30 degrees F (21.28 degrees C), which makes it the third warmest April on record (1895-2012). For Oklahoma, it was their twelfth warmest April on record, with a state average temperature of 63.70 degrees F (17.61 degrees C). Arkansas reported its thirteenth warmest April on record (1895-2012) with a state average temperature of 64.10 degrees F (17.83 degrees C). Other state average temperatures include: Louisiana at 69.20 degrees F (20.67 degrees C), Mississippi at 65.40 degrees F (18.56 degrees C) and Tennessee at 60.30 degrees F (15.72 degrees C).
  • With only a few exceptions, April was a very dry month for the Southern Region. In southern Louisiana, precipitation totals did dip over twice the monthly normal. Similar values were also observed along the Texas Gulf Coast, northern Texas, and in western and central Oklahoma. Elsewhere, most stations received less than half the expected precipitation for the month. The driest area of the region includes much of central Texas, where many stations reported only five percent of normal precipitation or less. Similar but less extreme dryness was also observed in north eastern Arkansas and throughout much of western and central Tennessee. Tennessee experienced its sixth driest April on record (1895-2012), with a state average precipitation total of only 2.17 inches (55.12 mm). Arkansas reported a state average precipitation total of 2.53 inches (64.26 mm), making it their eleventh driest April on record (1895-2012). For the state of Texas, it was their twenty-first driest April (1895-2012), with a state average precipitation total of 1.39 inches (35.31 mm). Other state precipitation totals include: Louisiana with 4.92 inches (124.97 mm), Mississippi with 3.63 inches (92.20 mm), and Oklahoma with 3.82 inches (97.03 mm).
  • Drought conditions in the Southern Region improved for the third consecutive month. Although the total area of the region in drought has increased by approximately one percent, the amount of extreme drought has been decreased by approximately six percent. Much of this improvement occurred in western and southern Texas, which has been under the grip of drought for over a year. Some new drought has popped up in southern Tennessee, where it has been much drier than normal for two consecutive months.
  • On April 3, 2012, several tornadoes touched down in the Dallas/Forth Worth Area. It is estimated that over 1,100 homes were damaged. In all there were 21 tornadoes that were confirmed, few injuries and fortunately no known fatalities. The storms were the result of a frontal system that pushed through the south central United States.
  • On April 14, 2012, a tornado in Woodward, Oklahoma resulted in two fatalities. Major structural damage in western and northern Woodward.
  • For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
  • The snow season typically declines significantly in the West as April ushers in a transition to warmer temperatures. A few precipitation events brought much needed moisture to California and added to the near-normal water year totals in the Pacific Northwest, while the Desert Southwest remained mostly dry.
  • Periods of anomalously low and high temperatures averaged to near normal for the month as a whole for the coastal states, while more inland locations saw higher than average temperatures. The first week of the month gave a smattering of record lows west of the Rockies. April 5th and 6th saw back-to back record lows in Sacramento, CA at 35 F and 34 F (1.7 C and 1.1 C). On the 7th, Portland, Oregon hit a record daily low of 31 F (-0.6 C). Several other locations throughout California, Idaho, and Oregon also saw record daily lows during this period. A ridge built up the following week, bringing temperatures up to a daily record of 70 F (21.1 C) in Seattle, Washington on April 8, and setting three consecutive daily records at Idaho Falls, Idaho of 73 F, 76 F, 76 F (22.8 C, 24.4 C, and 24.4 C) on April 9-11. A stronger upper level ridge near the end of the month pushed the temperature at Reno, Nevada to 90 F (32.2 C) on April 22. This was the first 90 F (32.2 C) or greater day Reno has seen in April since airport records began in 1937, and earlier than the previous “first 90” by 8 days. Many daily records were set elsewhere in the Desert Southwest as well. At Death Valley, California temperatures soared to 110 F, 113 F, and 113 F (43.3 C, 45 C, and 45 C) on April 21, 22, and 23 setting a record at that location for most days over 110 F (43.3 C) in April. The previous record of two days occurred in both 1989 and 2007; records at Death Valley began in 1911. After a cold and snowy winter, temperatures in Alaska were mild and near normal for April. Several daily record highs were set at various locations throughout the state during the latter half of the month.
  • April 10-14 brought copious amounts of precipitation to Central and Southern California. Several daily precipitation records with totals over 1 in (25.4 mm) were set throughout the region for this period. San Francisco airport received a total of 2.79 in (70.9 mm) of rainfall for the month, making this the 10th wettest April in the station’s 65-year record. The Pacific Northwest had a week of moderate precipitation between the 15th and 21st of April, followed by lighter rains at the end of the month. Over April 14th and 15th, Flagstaff, Arizona received 10 in (254 mm) of snowfall, setting a daily record and helping the location reach a precipitation total just over normal for the month.
  • The Great Basin and Desert Southwest saw dry conditions and persistence or development of drought in April, with most locations well below normal precipitation values. Due to low snowpack and rapid melt of existing snowpack, spring and summer stream flow forecasts for these areas are at 50% of normal or less for these regions. Fire conditions in the Great Basin in April were already comparable to those normally experienced during the peak of summer. After a rainy March, Hawaii returned to dry conditions with Hilo, Big Island, only receiving 6.67 in (169.4 mm) for the month, 57% of normal. To the northwest, Lihue, Kauai received 0.37 in (9.4 mm) 19% of normal, though the location’s year-to-date total of 31.75 in (806.5 mm) remains well above average thanks to the high March totals.
  • April 7: Anchorage, Alaska season snowfall record: On Saturday, April 7, Anchorage, Alaska received 4.3 in (109.2 mm) of snowfall, bringing the season total (since water year’s beginning on Oct 1, 2011) to 134.5 in (341.6 cm) and setting a record for greatest season snowfall at that location. This total narrowly eclipses the previous record of 132.6 in (336.8 cm) observed in 1954-55; snowfall records have been kept in Anchorage since 1915.
  • April (all month): Fires in Western Great Basin: Due to the dry winter and warm April, the Western Great Basin has experienced over 60 fires so far this year, four times the usual number of fires for this region. Vegetative dryness this low is usually not seen for another 3-4 months.
  • For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.

See NCDC's Monthly Records web-page for weather and climate records for the most recent month. For additional national, regional, and statewide data and graphics from 1895-present, for any period, please visit the Climate at a Glance page.

PLEASE NOTE: All of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages. Graphics based on final data are provided on the Temperature and Precipitation Maps page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly National Climate Report for April 2012, published online May 2012, retrieved on April 21, 2024 from