March rewind and a look ahead to April


The first month of spring continued a familiar theme of warmer-than-average temperatures, not just here in West Michigan, but across the eastern United States.

This marks the fourth consecutive month that has occurred. Temperatures ended up three degrees above average in Grand Rapids with the coldest of 17 degrees occurring March 7, and just a day later, the warmest of 63 degrees.

March turned out to be wetter than normal, with Grand Rapids at +0.90″ and Muskegon at +1.31″.

The warmer temperature kept snowfall below average by a little over 5 inches in Grand Rapids and over 7 inches in Muskegon.

Speaking of snowfall, this is a friendly reminder that April snowfall in not uncommon as we’ve recorded our last measurable snow during April the past five years.

Just under 5 inches of snow was recorded last April. April 2018 is one we would like to forget, as it was the fourth coldest on record with a half foot of snow. That’s over three times more than the average of 1.8.”

Even though we can expect snowflakes to fly in April, we can also look forward to spring’s first really warm temperatures. It goes to show you how transient the weather can be.

Here are the dates of the first 70-degree temperatures during the past five years. The average first 70 occurs around April 1st.

This makes sense, as daylight hours continue to expand. By April 1, we’ve added 3 hours and 45 minutes of daylight since the winter solstice and we’ll add another 1 hour and 23 minutes by the end of the month.

As daylight hours increase, so do average temperatures. With flowers blooming and trees budding, the average temperatures goes from 32/52 April 1 to 43/64 by April 30.

The latest forecast from the climate prediction center should put a smile on your face if it pans out. It’s forecasting above-average temperatures in many of the same areas that experienced it during the winter and March.

When you look at the forecast above you may think the entire month will be warm but there are strong indications very cool temperatures will return mid-April. Don’t be surprised to see snowflakes fly again during this time-frame. Any areas shaded in blue and green represent temperatures that are forecast below average.

We could use a month with average- to below-average precipitation, considering the near-to-record-high lake levels and the very saturated soil across the Great Lakes.

After several gloomy days, we have sunshine heading this way for Thursday and Friday that will be accompanied with ABOVE-average temperatures. Ellen Bacca and Emily Schuitema will highlight that beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday on News 8.

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