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Assessing the U.S. Climate in April 2019

Coasts see warm April, nation largely drought-free

Photo of white beach at sunset with overcast sky
Courtesy of NOAA

During April, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 52.9°F, 1.8°F above the 20th century average, ranking in the upper third of the 125-year record. The year-to-date (January–April) average contiguous U.S. temperature was 39.4°F, 0.3°F above average, ranking in the middle third of the 125-year period of record. This was the coldest start to a year since 2014 for the nation.  

The April precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 3.17 inches, 0.65 inch above average, and ranked in the top 10 percent of the 125-year period of record. The year-to-date precipitation total was 11.24 inches, 1.76 inch above average, ranking seventh wettest.

This monthly summary from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making.

April Temperature

  • Much-above-average temperatures were observed across the Mid-Atlantic as well as coastal California. Delaware had its second warmest April on record while Maryland and New Jersey were third and fourth warmest on record, respectively.

  • Parts of the Deep South and northern Plains were cooler than average.

  • The Alaska average April temperature was 28.4°F, 5.1°F above the long-term mean. This was the 10th warmest April on record for the state. Kotzebue had its warmest April on record. Along the state’s west coast, the Bering Sea ice extent ranked second lowest behind 2018.

April Precipitation

  • During April, much-below-normal dryness was observed across parts of the central Plains.

  • Above-average wetness occurred across much of the Northwest, the South, parts of the upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes as well as portions of the Southeast and New England.

    • Oregon ranked third wettest for April while Idaho and Vermont both ranked sixth wettest.

    • A significant snow event, which occurred from the 9th to the 12th, brought blizzard conditions to parts of the northern Plains and ranked as Category 3 on the Regional Snowfall Index scale. This is the highest rank for a snow event in the Northern Rockies and Plains region since October 2013. Watertown, S.D., reported 25 inches of snow, which is the city’s largest 3-day snow total on record.  

  • According to NOAA data, analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the contiguous U.S. snow cover extent during April was 302,700 square miles, 21,000 square miles above the 1981–2010 average. This was the 22nd largest April snow cover extent on record for the Lower 48 since satellite records began 53 years ago. Above-average snow cover was observed across the northern Plains, Great Lakes and into New England, with below-average snow cover across the central High Plains and parts of the West.

  • According to the April 30 U.S. Drought Monitor report, approximately two percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down from six percent at the beginning of April. This is the second smallest drought footprint on record. Drought conditions improved across Oregon, New Mexico and Texas and expanded across Hawaii and Puerto Rico

Year-to-date (January–April) Temperature

  • Much-above- to above-average temperatures were observed across much of the Southeast, Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic states. Florida had its sixth warmest year-to-date period while Georgia experienced its ninth warmest such period.

  • Much-below- to below-average temperatures were present across the northern Plains and Great Lakes with South Dakota ranking 11th coldest January–April on record.

  • The Alaska January–April temperature was 19.4°F, 9.1°F above the long-term average, ranking second warmest on record for the state. Only 2016 was warmer. Much of the North Slope, northern West Coast, northern Northeast Interior, and eastern Aleutian regions were record warm, while near-average conditions were observed across the Panhandle. Utqiaġvik (Barrow) had its warmest January–April on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2018 by 0.9°F.

Year-to-date (January–April) Precipitation

  • Below-average precipitation for the year-to-date period was observed across parts of Washington state, Georgia and South Carolina.

  • Much-above- to above-average precipitation dominated much of the West, the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, Great Lakes and parts of New England. Tennessee was second wettest while Nevada and Utah ranked fourth wettest for this year-to-date period.