April left some indelible marks in several regions

Regina Bird

Many were wishing for spring showers for more than just May flowers.

Strong winds only amplified the ongoing dry conditions, which meant fire concerns for parts of the Plains during the month of April. Towns were evacuated due to fires raging in Oklahoma and Nebraska during the past month. 

Areas that stayed dry did have the benefit of progressing fieldwork, but stress continued on other crops and pastures. 

Some areas did pick up some wanted moisture, but at times it was accompanied by weather conditions that no one wanted. Severe storms brought tornadoes and intense winds that left damage along with large hail. 

Unseasonal warmth settled in parts of the Plains around mid-April. Scottsbluff, Nebraska, noted an impressive diurnal temperature swing with a low of 33 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning of April 11 then soaring to 92 degrees by late afternoon (marking a new record high for the day too). Also in western Nebraska, North Platte started a stretch of heat April 11 with a high of 89 degrees, which set a new record for the day. The following two days set record highs in North Platte too as temperatures rose to 93 and 95 degrees, respectively.

ENSO-neutral remains so far and is expected to remain this spring. Sometime during the summer months a transition to El Niño is currently forecast. 

For the month of May, temperatures are forecast to be above average for Texas into southern Oklahoma. 

That trend continues for that area through the next three months and extends into Kansas too during that time frame.

There aren’t any strong signals for above or below average precipitation in the Plains for May.

That changes for the extended outlook as western Texas is forecast to see below normal precipitation when you average the numbers through July. 

Drought conditions are expected to continue to plague parts of the Plains into the summer months with the western half of Texas and Oklahoma along with southern and western Kansas likely to be experiencing some level of drought during that time. 

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