Near to Above Normal April Precipitation
A significant portion of the Midwest received above normal precipitation during April, with the great departures of 200% to 300% of normal in portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Michigan, and portions of the Ohio River Valley (Figure 1). Areas with below normal precipitation (25% to 75% of normal) included northwestern Iowa, southwestern Minnesota, southwestern Missouri, and south-central Michigan. The highest monthly precipitation totals of 10" to 12.5" fell in an area of southern Indiana and northern Kentucky (Figure 2). A large storm system on April 2nd and 3rd contributed to the significant rainfall in this area (Week 1 Summary).
Preliminary state precipitation data shows that all nine Midwest states received above normal precipitation in April, with Kentucky having the greatest departure of +2.23" above normal. On average, Kentucky received 6.33" of precipitation, which is the greatest of any other state average as well. Michigan received the lowest average precipitation, with only 3.82" throughout the month. However, this was still about 1" greater than normal April precipitation for Michigan.
Above Normal April Snowfall
After a snowy winter in the Midwest, April also saw its fair share of snow, especially in the Upper Midwest where snowfall was above normal
(Figure 3). Snowfall totals ranged from 0.1" to 1" across much of the central Midwest, even extending south into Kentucky (Figure 4). The highest April snowfall totals were in Upper Michigan, where 30" to 40" fell throughout the month. The significant monthly snow totals in Upper Michigan were 20" to 30" above normal for this time of year. The most significant snowfall events during the month included events on April 2nd and 3rd, April 12th and 13th, and April 16th.
Unseasonably Cold in North, Near to Above Normal in South
April average temperatures were unseasonably cold in the Upper Midwest, with departures 5°F to 6°F cooler than normal across much of Minnesota, and Upper Michigan (Figure 5). Areas across the central Midwest were near normal, while areas of southern Indiana, southern Ohio, and Kentucky were 1°F to 3°F above normal. Based on preliminary state data, 6 out of the 9 Midwest states experienced average temperatures below normal (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin), while 3 were above average (Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio). The greatest state departures were in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which were both -4.6°F below normal April temperatures.
All areas of the Midwest experienced freezing temperatures in April, with areas in the upper Midwest still experiencing freezing temperatures as of the end of April (Figure 6). According to climatology, the southern half of the region most likely has experienced their last freezing temperatures, but areas of the upper Midwest could still potentially have freezing temperatures throughout the month of May
Quiet Month for Severe Weather
With the exception of a few days throughout the month, April was a fairly quiet month in terms of severe weather. The most active and widespread severe weather days were April 2nd and 3rd, April 12th and 13th, and April 27th, 28th, and 29th.
Growing Season: Planting Begins
With a number of April days with little rain and nice temperatures, farmers across the Midwest were able to start planting corn and soybeans during April. However, many states are still behind the 5-year average for planting progress by April 27th. The table summarizes that Missouri has made the most progress in planting corn, at 47% planted, which is 5% ahead of the 5-year average. Michigan and Wisconsin have planted the least corn at only 1%, which is 12% and 9% behind the 5-year average (respectively). In terms of soybeans, very little has been planted across the region, which is not unusual for this time of year.
April 27, 2014
Extension Climatologist for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.
The Iowa Climatology Bureau also contributed to this report.
The Missouri Climate Center also contributed to this report.