April 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary
April 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary
April was notable weather-wise for more spring heat records in the U.S.A. and much of Europe. National heat records (for warmest temperature on record) occurred in the United States (a tie), Germany, Austria, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Hungry, Croatia, Ukraine, and Slovakia as well as the cities of Moscow and Munich among others. A massive tornado outbreak affected the central U.S.A. on April 14th and severe storms also caused fatalities in Argentina, Japan, India, and China.
Below is a summary some of the month’s highlights.
Following the extraordinarily warm March of 2012, April continued the trend of much above normal temperatures for much of the contiguous U.S. although not nearly on the same scale as March. In fact, several cities, like Chicago and Rockford, Illinois recorded cooler average temperatures than March (a first on record) in spite of still being warmer than normal during the month! All-time April monthly record highs were tied or broken at the following locations:
Phoenix, Arizona: 105°F on April 22 (previous 105° April temperatures occurred on 4/20/1989 and 4/29/1992)
Las Vegas, Nevada: 99°F on April 22 (tying old record set 4/30/1981)
Reno, Nevada: 90° on April 23 (old record 89° 4/30/1981)
Elko, Nevada: 87° on April 22 (old record 86° 4/30/1981). This also beat the previous so-warm-so-early-in-the-season record by 4°.
Ely, Nevada: 86° on April 22 (old record 82° 4/28/1992)
Winnemucca, Nevada: 90° on April 22 and 23 (tying old record set 4/30/1981)
Death Valley, California: 113° on April 22 and 23 (tying old record set on April 24, 1946). This temperature may also tie the U.S. national record for the month of April if one disavows a suspicious reading of 118° from Volcano Springs, California in April of 1898.
Grand Junction, Colorado: 89° on April 23 and 24 (tying all-time April record also set on 4/29 and 4/30, 1992)
Amarillo, Texas: 99° on April 25 (old April record 98° on 4/22/1989 and 4/22/1965)
Lubbock, Texas: 104° on April 25 (old April record 100° on 4/16/1925 and /22/1989)
Midland, Texas: 104° on April 25 (old April record 101° on 4/21/1989)
Abilene, Texas: 104° on April 25 (old April record 102° on 4/16/1925)
Childress, Texas: 106° (old April record 102° on three occasions, most recently on 4/3/2011)
The month was the hottest April on record for much of northern Texas (again):
Furthermore, the warm April led to the 12-month period of May 2011-April 2012 being the warmest 12-month period in U.S. history.
This map showing how each state ranked out of 117 possible years for the 12-month period of May 2011-Apil 2012.
In spite of all the heat records set there was a rare late-season snowstorm over the highlands of the Appalachians of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. The peak total was 23.7” at Laurel Summit (elevation 2,700’) in south-central Pennsylvania. Ithaca, New York received a 6” accumulation.
A massive tornado outbreak produced approximately 100 twisters across the central plains on April 14-15. There were six fatalities in the city of Woodward, Oklahoma and Wichita, Kansas suffered $283 million in damages. The strongest single tornado was one rated EF-4 near Salina, Kansas.
A still from an amazing video taken of the EF-4 tornado near Salina in Ellsworth County, Kansas on April 14th. Video by David R. Mabe and worth Googling to watch the entire clip!
A rare thunderstorm hit the San Francisco Bay Area on the evening of April 13th producing 700 lightning strikes over the course of the 3-hour storm. It was the most intense such event since September 1999.
An amazing photo captures both towers of the Golden Gate Bridge being struck almost simultaneously during the storm on the evening of April 13th. Photo by Chris Blain.
Heavy rains in Haiti on April 23 resulted in flash floods that drowned at least nine. The Dominican Republic was also affected with over 11,000 forced to evacuate their homes.
The coldest temperature in the northern hemisphere was a reading of -51.7°F (-46.5°C) at Summit station on Greenland April 20th.
SOUTH AMERICA and CENTRAL AMERICA
A severe thunderstorm walloped Buenos Aires, Argentina the night of April 4th. Wind gusts over 60 mph toppled walls and blew off roofs in and around the city. At least 13 were killed and 20 injured in the region surrounding the city (including 4 in the downtown area. Large hail was also reported.
April provided a month of sharp contrasts across the sub-continent with the British Isles reporting their wettest April on record and cooler than normal temperatures while areas from Germany eastward measured all-time April heat and drought.
In the U.K. the maximum temperature failed to reach 20° C (68°F) for the first time since 1989 and the month was actually cooler than the previous March. Most of the country reported more than 200% of normal precipitation, greatly alleviating the on-going drought situation.
The wettest April on record was recorded in the U.K. this past month Map from the U.K. Met Office.
The warmest temperature reported was 19.7°C (67.5°F) at Kew Gardens, London on April 30th, the coldest being -8.2°C (17.2°F) at Braemar, Scotland on April 5th, and the greatest 24-hour precipitation netting 46mm (1.81”) at Liscombe, Somerset on April 29-30. A rather significant late-season snowfall buried Whitehillocks, Angus under 22cm on April 3rd.
Elsewhere in Europe the big story was an unprecedented April heat wave the last three days of the month. A total of 10 national all-time April heat records were broken:
Poland: 31.7°C (89.18°F) at Tomaszow on 4/29
Germany: 32.2°C (90.0°F) at Munich on 4/28
Austria: 31.8°C (89.2°F) at Ranshoten on 4/28
Belarus: 30.4°C ( 86.7°F) at Zitovici on 4/29
Moldova 32.5°C (90.5°F) at unknown location
Lithuania 28.9°C (84.0°F) at Vilnius on 4/28
Slovakia 31.3°C (88.3°F) at Dudince on 4/28
Croatia 31.3° (88.3°F) at Daruvar on 4/29
Hungry 31.8°C (89.2°F) at Pecs on 4/30
Ukraine 33.3°C (91.9°F) at Komisarivka on 4/30
Additional national monthly heat records may have been set in Romania 32.2C, Bulgaria 33.2C and Bosnia over 31C, but we have to find confirmation of such (as national April heat records).
In addition Moscow recorded its warmest April temperature on record with a reading of 28.9°C on April 30th. Prague, Czech Republic also broke its April heat record with 30.7°C (records here go back to 1775!). Hundreds of other cities across the region also broke records. The complete list is simply too long to include in my brief summary.
I am unaware of any significant extreme weather events in Africa during this past April.
A powerful extra-tropical storm lashed Japan on April 3 lashing Tokyo with its highest winds recorded in 50 years with gusts to 87 mph. Two people were reported killed and “dozens” injured. Waves of 10 meters (33 feet) lashed the northwest coast of Honshu Island.
Strong winds on April 23rd also blasted northwest China’s province of Xinjiang with gusts of 73 mph (117 km/h) reported in the Turpan Depression area. The winds damaged 165 homes and fanned a fire that resulted in the death of one person.
An early monsoonal storm the night of April 30-May 1 caused an overloaded passenger ferry to capsize on the Brahmaputra River in Assam State, India resulting the deaths of perhaps as many as 160 people. This was likely the deadliest weather-related event in the world during April.
The flimsy remains of the ferry that capsized during a storm on India’s Brahmaputra River April 30th. Some 150-180 perished and there were 100 survivors. Hard to imagine how 250-280 people could have crammed on to this boat. Photo from AFP (Agence France Presse).
The highest temperature recorded in the northern hemisphere and the world during April was a reading of 115.0°F (46.1°C) at Chauk, Myanmar (Burma) on April 17th. Bangkok, Thailand suffered through its 2nd hottest April on record when temperatures averaged 32.2°C (90°F) for the month. There were 6 consecutive 38°C+ (100°F) days at the end of the month.
As the two-year long La Niña event finally relaxed its grip, Australia’s weather patterns returned to mostly normal this past April and, finally, some drier than normal precipitation totals after months of extreme rainfalls. Temperatures were about average nation-wide with the exception of Tasmania where it was the 4th warmest April on record.
At last a reasonably dry month across Australia during April Map from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The warmest temperature reported in the country and the southern hemisphere was 42.0°C (107.6°F) at Roeburne, Western Australia on April 3. The coldest national reading was -8.0°C (17.6°F) at Charlotte Pass, New South Wales on April 11th and the wettest calendar day produced 183.4mm (7.22”) of precipitation at Gold Coast Seaway, Queensland on April 29th.
NEW ZEALAND/SOUTH PACIFIC
New Zealand experienced extremely dry conditions over the southern section of the South Island with just 5mm (0.20”) measured at Alexandra for the entire month. It was also unusually warm over the same region. A national high of 27.3°C (81.1°F) was reported from Firth of Thames, North Island on April 4. The coldest temperature for the month was -3.6°C (25.5°F) at Lake Pukaki, South Island on April 24th and the wettest day netted 102mm (4.02”) at Gisborne, North Island on April 3. An extreme wind gust of 94mph (152 km/h) was measured at Akito (Wairarapa), North Island on April 30th.
The coldest temperature in the southern hemisphere and the world during April was -74.5°C (-102.1°F) recorded at Concordia on April 22nd.
KUDOS Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera for global temperature extremes data, Stephen Burt for the U.K. extremes, and Jeremy Budd for New Zealand weather extremes.
Christopher C. Burt
Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.
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