Monday, April 30, 2012

Two Aprils Colder Than March

My old colleague Peter -- back from when we worked for the same publishing company that produced paper-based products -- e-mailed me and the rest of his family and friends today to tell us that he'd had a question published in Ask Tom Why. That's a daily column in the paper and electronic versions of the Chicago Tribune in which Tom Skilling, the local Duns Scotus of weather, fields weather-related questions. That is, he deals in catnip for weather nerds, and boy did he deliver today, discussing the odd cool April we've had this year, following the warm March.

 Peter wrote: "First, here is the question I asked Mr. Skilling: 

"Dear Tom, 'Could you elaborate on the spring of 1907? As you say, it was the other time April ended up colder than March. But in that case it was a slightly mild March followed by a brutally cold April. And if that wasn't enough, that May was also among the coldest ever. We might be farther ahead with spring foliage now, than the end of May/start of June that year.' 

"He cut short the question, but answered it well enough: 

"Dear Tom, 'Could you elaborate on the spring of 1907, when the only April other than the current one ended up colder than the preceding March?' 

"Dear Pete, 'March 1907, averaging 42.6 degrees, was nothing like our historically warm March 2012, which averaged 53.5 degrees. March 1907 was cool through the 20th, with the highest reading only reaching 63 degrees. The end of the month turned considerably warmer, with five days in the 70s and the month's high of 80 on March 23. April (average temperature 39.8 degrees) and May (51.6 degrees) were both very chilly and well below normal. April's highest temperature was just 70, and May -- which notched a lone 80 -- even logged a 1.3-inch snowfall on the 3rd. The summer that followed was cool with all three months averaging below normal. There were only four 90-degree days and the season's highest reading was just 92, recorded on Aug. 11 and Sept. 1.'

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