NOTE - Rainfall and temperature information is based on data kept at Milford Lake by the Corps of Engineers. For more information contact Chuck Otte, 238-4161.
Geary County Extension Agent Chuck Otte said April was another roller coaster weather adventure. The month started and ended with above normal temperatures, but in between we had below normal temperatures and a rare April snow. Even though we seemed to be getting regular precipitation events we ended the month below normal for precipitation and for temperatures as well.
The average daily high during April was 64 degrees, 1.8 degrees below normal. The overnight low was 43.2, six tenths of a degree above normal. This left us with a monthly mean temperature of 53.6, six tenths of a degree below normal. This ongoing trend of above normal overnight temperatures, even in a month where the average temperature is below normal has been occurring for over a decade and is a strong indicator of a warming climate. The highest temperature for the month was 83 on April 30th. The lowest temperature was the low of 26 on April 1st. Cold, possibly plant damaging cold was forecast during that cold snap around April 20th, but fortunately it did not get as cold as forecasted nor did it stay cold as long as predicted thereby saving many plants and crops from damage.
The first 80 or above temperature of the year was recorded on April 4th when it reached 81 degrees. The last time we saw 80 or higher was on November 3 when we hit 80, a time span of 152 days. Our April mean temperature was nicely tucked into an expected “normal” range. The hottest April on record was April 1955 with a monthly mean temperature of 63.2 degrees. The coldest April was in 1983 with a monthly mean temperature of 45.9 degrees. There were two temperature records set during the month. The low of 66 on the 28th broke the old record high low temperature of 64 degrees set in 1963. The low of 62 on the 29th also broke the old record high low temperature of 61 set in 1951 and reached again in 1970.
The average rainfall for April is 3.15 inches. Milford Lake received 2.18 inches for the month and Junction City recorded 2.56 inches. Normal year to date liquid precipitation is 6.98 inches. Milford Lake has received 6.00 inches in 2021 and Junction City has received 7.50 inches. The wettest April on record was in 1944 when 12.59 inches deluged the region. The driest April was in 1989 when only 0.36 inches disturbed the dust in the rain gauges.
While April snows aren’t common, they aren’t unheard of either. Long term average April snowfall is 0.7 inches. The morning of April 20th the region woke up to a blanket of snow with 3.5 inches measured in Junction City. This matched all the snow received previously during the 2020-2021 snowfall season. With average seasonal snowfall being 18 inches, we fell well below that with just 7.0 inches recorded since October 1st. In fact, measurable snow fell just five times during that period.
May can be cold, and it can be hot. But it normally will bring us spring in all it’s glory. Average daily highs begin the month at 70 degrees and by the end of the month are up to 80. Average overnight lows start at 49 degrees on May 1st and by the 31st are almost up to 60 degrees. May is typically our wettest month of the year with 5.14 inches of rainfall averaged over the last 30 years. May starts our rainy period with 55% of our annual precipitation normally falling from May through August.