April 2020 Weather Review: First Cooler Than Average Month of the Year
April was 2.7 degrees below average, making it the first month this year to be chillier than average. It was also the fourth chilliest April of the past 40 years. Even more interesting, this was the first April since 1940 with no highs of 70° or warmer (after three such days in March). In the years since 2000 the warmest reading in April has averaged 85°, but this April's mildest reading was just 68°. Despite this cool warmest reading, the nights weren't as cold as might be expected as the coldest reading, 36°, was three degrees milder than a typical April's coldest temperature. The 32-degree difference between the month's coldest and warmest readings was 20 degrees less than the average difference between the two extremes - the smallest gap of any April on record.
The last sixteen days of the month all had below average mean temperatures, the longest below average streak since March 2018's streak of 22 days. These 16 days were seven degrees below average (seven of the days were ten or more degrees below average). Before this streak started April had been two degrees milder than average (with April 4-8 seven above average).
Although it was the fourth coldest April of the past 40 years, it ranked 63rd among all Aprils going back to 1869. This was due to the fact that Aprils before 1940 were much chillier. (Six of the eight Aprils with no high readings of 70° or warmer occurred between 1873-1884.)
Although April's rainfall, at 4.49", was an average amount, it was enough to make it the rainiest month so far this year. The month also had the year's biggest rainstorm - 1.92" on 4/13 (the day after Easter).
A typical April is 10 to 11 degrees warmer than March, but April 2020 was just 2.4 degrees milder - the third closest of any year. Additionally, April's mildest reading was nine degrees cooler than March's (68° vs. 77°) and its mildest low temperature was one degree cooler than March's (53° vs. 54°).
2020 is just the seventh year in which April, March and February had more precipitation than the month preceding it. This year April had 4.49"; March, 3.78"; February 2.54"; and January 1.93".
Here are April recaps of previous years:
January had a warmer reading than April this year (69° vs 68°), a first for any year. The closest this came to happening was in 1874, 1876 and 1916.
In 1874, the warmest reading in January and April was 63° and 64° respectively.
In 1876, the warmest reading in January and April was 68° and 69° respectively.
In 1916, the warmest reading in January and April was 69° and 70° respectively.
Posted by: William | 05/01/2020 at 04:08 PM
March also had a warmer reading than April (77° vs 68°). Has this happened before?
Posted by: Landen | 05/02/2020 at 03:33 PM
To respond to the above question, the answer is yes. This has happened in six other years, which are 1988, 1946, 1945, 1998, 1921, 1989.
In 1921, the warmest reading in March and April was 84° and 79° respectively.
In 1945, the warmest reading in March and April was 86° and 83° respectively.
In 1946, the warmest reading in March and April was 79° and 78° respectively.
In 1988, the warmest reading in March and April was 76° and 73° respectively.
In 1989, the warmest reading in March and April was 82° and 77° respectively.
In 1998, the warmest reading in March and April was 86° and 73° respectively.
Posted by: William | 05/03/2020 at 12:42 AM
all but two days this month had a low colder than 50°, the most in April since 1999, and the last time April had more such lows was in 1975, when there were 29.
Posted by: William | 06/01/2020 at 03:00 PM
It is too bad that New York was not as fortunate as Philadelphia or Washington DC to get a few highs in the 70s this April. Washington’s warmest reading in April was 81 degrees on 4/13 (13 degrees warmer than New York’s warmest reading of 68 degrees) and Philadelphia’s warmest reading was 74 on 4/8 (6 degrees warmer).
Posted by: Elijah Atkinson | 06/04/2020 at 12:04 PM
It's largely due to our proximity to the ocean/Long Island Sound (same can be said for Boston). This is also the reason the number of summer days in the 90s is significantly lower than what Philly and DC see.
Posted by: Rob | 06/04/2020 at 01:56 PM
when was the last time April was the first colder than normal month of the year? this sounds like a rather rare distinction for April given that the first three months of the year have had (more than) their fair share of lengthy cold spells over the years.
Posted by: William | 06/12/2020 at 02:22 PM
I haven't done such an analysis, but perhaps one of my readers has?
Posted by: Rob | 06/13/2020 at 12:00 AM
On the other side of this year, November had a warmer reading than April (75 in November vs. 68 in April). Has this ever happened before? (Under normal conditions, April’s warmest reading is usually in the lower 80s while November’s is around 70.)
Posted by: Henry | 11/12/2020 at 09:50 AM
Since 1900 it's happened in six other years, most recently in 1993 (November 80 degrees/April 79 degrees). That was the warmest reading in April to be topped by November's warmest high. In two other years, November and April had the same warmest temperature.
Posted by: Rob | 11/14/2020 at 12:01 AM
this joined 1873, 1874, 1876 and 1884 as the only five Aprils of all time with no measurable snow or reading of 70° or warmer.
Posted by: William | 08/17/2022 at 11:00 PM