Winter held its grip for some days in April for parts of the plains.
During the second week of April, some late season snow fell across portions of the plains. The system also packed strong wind. That same week also brought sub-freezing temperatures stretching from the northern plains even down into northern Texas. Meanwhile another part of Texas (the eastern portion) experienced severe storms and tornadoes.
Later in the month, central and eastern Texas received widespread rain, which helped improve drought conditions in the central part of the state. As expected in Colorado, drought conditions lessened within the past month.
Recent moisture had an impact on fieldwork progress during the month of April. Notably, corn planting was not underway yet in portions of the northern plains, including North Dakota and South Dakota as we approached the end of the month, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Similar to March, April as a whole brought some record breaking cold and record breaking heat. Dalhart, Texas, marked a record cold low of 24 degrees Fahrenheit for April 14. On the opposite end of the thermometer, Valentine, Nebraska, had a record high of 93 degrees on April 20, which broke the old record for that day from 1980.
For the month of May, temperatures look to average below seasonal norms from west Texas into southwest Kansas. For precipitation in the next month, we should see above normal precipitation for most of Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado. All except eastern parts of Kansas and Nebraska should experience more precipitation than normal for May as well.
Looking further out, basically all of the High Plains are expected to pick up above normal precipitation when totaled for the next several months. The next three months look to feature below average temperatures for northwest Texas along with western portions of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
Far away from the plains, weak El Niño was still in control. Sea surface temperatures in portions of the Pacific were above the El Niño threshold. Atmospheric conditions also continued to reflect El Niño. El Niño is forecast to continue into the summer and possibly even the fall, although that’s less certain.
I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for next month’s update.
Editor’s note: Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. Following high school, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. She currently works as a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX.