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Extreme 111° heat hits Texas; floods kill 9 in Haiti

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:25 PM GMT on April 26, 2012

Another round of unprecedented April heat hit the U.S. yesterday, and this time it was Texas' turn to see large sections of the state with the hottest April temperatures in over a century of record keeping. Seven major airports in Texas set all-time April high temperatures yesterday:

Amarillo, TX: 99° (old April record 98° on 4/22/1989 and 4/22/1965)
Lubbock, TX: 101° (old April record 100° on 4/16/1925 and /22/1989)
Dalhart, TX: 96° (old April record 94° on 4/22/1989)
Borger, TX: 99° (tied April record set on 4/22/1965)
Midland, TX: 104° (old April record 101° on 4/21/1989)
Abilene, TX: 104° (old April record 102° on 4/16/1925)
Childress, TX: 106° (old April record 102° on three occasions, most recently on 4/3/2011)

According to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, both Texas and Oklahoma came within 2°F of their all-time April state high temperature record yesterday. Altus, Oklahoma hit 104°, falling 2° short of the April state record of 106° set at the Magnum Research Station in 1972. In the Texas Mesonet, it hit 111° at Knox City 3NW, which is just 2° short of the Texas April state record of 113° set at Catarina in 1984. According to Mr. Burt, What is amazing is that Knox City is in the north-central part of the state, not down in the Rio Grande region like Catarina. The 111° would probably be pretty close to whatever the all-time hottest temp for ANY month might be in that location (probably around 115°). On Sunday this week, Nevada just missed setting their April state high temperature record, when the mercury hit 105° in Laughlin (April state record: 106° in 1989.)

Figure 1. At least 36 of the roughly 400 major U.S. cities that maintain automated weather sensors at their local airports (8%) have set or tied all-time April high temperature records so far this month. The records set yesterday in Texas are not yet in the database, and are not included on this map. Image taken from our new Record Extremes page.

Earlier this week, all-time record April heat hit large portions of Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. At least 36 of the roughly 400 major U.S. cities that maintain automated weather sensors at their local airports (8%) have set or tied all-time April high temperature records so far this month; no all-time April cold records have been set. The U.S. has been on an extraordinary pace of setting high temperature records so far in 2012. During March 2012, an astonishing 32% of all the major airports in the U.S. set all-time March high temperature records. For the year-to-date, there have been 184 new all-time monthly high temperature records set at the major airports, and 6 all-time monthly low temperature records. Not surprisingly, the period January - March this year has been the warmest such period in the U.S. since record keeping began in 1895.

Figure 2. Total precipitable water (in mm) for this morning shows a surge of moisture moving westwards though the Caribbean. Precipitable water values in excess of 51 mm (2 inches, orange colors) are capable of generating heavy flooding rains. Image credit: University of Wisconsin CIMSS.

Heavy rains kill nine in Haiti
The rainy season has begun on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, where heavy rains that began on Monday have triggered mudslides and floods that killed nine people. Nearly 500,000 people are still homeless in Haiti from the January 2010 earthquake, making the country highly vulnerable to flooding disasters. Heavy flooding was also a problem this week in the neighboring Dominican Republic, where 11,000 people were evacuated; no deaths were reported there, however. Precipitation forecasts from the GFS model suggest that the worst is over for Hispaniola, with the axis of greatest moisture expected to move west of the island today. This surge of moisture will bring heavy rains to Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and South Florida during the remainder of the week.

Jeff Masters
I'll have another cup please
I'll have another cup please
Gonna be a good day

Heat Flood

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.