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APRIL 2015


5-11…Severe thunderstorms produced localized wind and hail damage, along with isolated tornadoes, across portions of the Plains, South, and Midwest. Rain extended beyond the Midwest, also covering much of the South and East. Beneficial precipitation dotted the Plains. At week’s end, a developing storm brought some rain to the south-central U.S., including southern Texas. Elsewhere, late season storminess nearly doubled the

Sierra Nevada snowpack—from 5 to 8 percent of the early April average. Beneficial precipitation also dampened the remainder of northern and central California, as well as the Northwest, boosting topsoil moisture but providing little overall relief in areas experiencing long-term, hydrological drought. Early in the week, much-needed precipitation overspread

California. Record setting rainfall totals in California for April 6 reached 2.49 inches in Crescent City and 1.66 inches in Eureka. In the Northwest, daily record totals included 0.47 inch (on April 5) in Ontario, OR, and 0.30 inch (on April 6) in Wenatchee, WA. Elsewhere in Washington, Spokane netted a daily record snowfall (1.0 inch) on April 6. The following day, precipitation continued in California and erupted across the mid-South and Midwest. Record setting totals for April 7 were set in locations such as Frankfort, KY (1.96 inches), and Sacramento, CA (0.96 inch). On April 7-8, more than a foot of snow blanketed parts of the Sierra Nevada, with 13 inches reported at an elevation of 8,600 feet in Tuolumne Meadows, CA. Meanwhile, additional heavy rain soaked the Midwest, setting daily records in Milwaukee, WI (3.18 inches on April 9); Muskegon, MI (2.24 inches on April 9); Rockford, IL (2.24 inches on April 9); and Mansfield, OH (1.48 inches on April 8). During a multi-day severe weather outbreak from April 7-9, more than three dozen tornadoes—based on preliminary reports—were noted from the southern Plains into the mid-South and Midwest. The outbreak’s most impressive tornado, rated EF-4, cut a 30-mile swath during the evening of April 9 across portions of Lee, Ogle, De Kalb, and Boone Counties in north-central Illinois. The EF-4 twister, with estimated winds as high as 200 mph, resulted in two fatalities and nearly two dozen injuries. Farther east, Bangor, ME, received 6.3 inches of snow from April 4-9. In Marquette, MI, April 10 featured an 8.6-inch snowfall. Farther south, rain developed during the second half of the week in parts of the south-central U.S., resulting in record-setting totals in Texas locations such as Tyler (2.17 inches on April 9) and Laredo (1.86 inches on April 11). Lake Charles, LA, was soaked by a daily record sum of 4.22 inches on April 10.


12-18…Wet weather, including locally severe thunderstorms occurred across the South. Some of the heaviest rain fell along and near the central Gulf Coast, where totals in excess of 4 inches were common. Stormy conditions also extended westward to the central and southern Plains, where frequent showers and thunderstorms boosted soil moisture for drought-stressed areas. Rainfall totals of an inch or more affected many areas from Nebraska southward into Texas. Elsewhere, late-season storminess in the West was mostly confined to the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies, although snow also blanketed peaks in the Intermountain region. In drought-stricken sections of the West, including California and the Great Basin, precipitation was insufficient to alter the bleak hydrological outlook for the spring and summer. Early week rainfall soaked parts of the Deep South. On April 12, daily record totals included 2.12 inches in Daytona Beach, FL, and 2.03 inches in Brownsville, TX.

Elsewhere on the 12th, the 7.28-inch total in Mobile, AL, marked the wettest day in that location since April 29, 2014, when 11.24 inches fell. Later, another round of heavy rain spread from the southern Plains into the Southeast. Roswell, NM, collected a daily-record total (1.61 inches) for April 13. The following day, record-setting totals for April 14 reached 3.35 inches in New Orleans, LA; 2.01 inches in Jackson, KY; and 1.30 inches in Laredo, TX.

Farther north, a new storm took shape across the West, preceded and accompanied by gusty winds. On April 14, gusts were clocked to 63 mph in Casper, WY, and 61 mph

in Cedar City, UT. Billings, MT, received 1.11 inches of precipitation (and 5.9 inches of snow) on April 15, accounting for 40 percent of its year-to-date total of 2.79 inches. Snowfall records for April 15 were established in locations such as Lander, WY (6.7 inches), and Salt Lake City, UT (5.5 inches). Denver, CO, netted 4.1 inches of snow in a 24-hour period on April 16-17. Mid-month snow, which lingered into April 18 in the central Rockies, totaled up to 1 to 3 feet in the mountains of Colorado and locally reached 2 to 4 feet in the Wasatch Range of Utah. On April 16, heavy rain erupted across the western Gulf Coast region and spread northward across the central Plains. Record breaking amounts for April 16 totaled 4.39 inches in Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX; 2.80 inches in Alexandria, LA; 2.08 inches in Goodland, KS; and 1.22 inches in Denver, CO. During another round of record setting rainfall, totals for April 17 included 2.31 inches in Sidney, NE, and 1.89 inches in Corpus Christi, TX. The 18th marked the tenth consecutive day with measurable rainfall in New Orleans, LA—a record for April. From April 9-18, rainfall in New Orleans totaled 8.54 inches.


19-25…Widespread rain fell across the eastern half of the U.S., although totals in excess of 2 inches were mainly confined to the Atlantic Coast States and the mid-South. However, in areas that have been wet especially from the western Gulf Coast region into the Ohio Valley.  Elsewhere, widespread rain and snow showers dotted the West, boosting topsoil moisture and temporarily easing irrigation requirements. However, the moisture arrived too late in the year to alter bleak expectations for spring and summer runoff, leaving hydrological drought intact. On April 20 in South Dakota, wind gusts were clocked to 55 mph in Mobridge and 53 mph in Mitchell. Two days later, a wind gust to 71 mph was reported in Philadelphia, PA the highest gust in that location since June 24, 2010 (75 mph). The week began with a sprawling storm producing widespread rain across the eastern half of the country. Record setting totals for April 19 included 1.45 inches in Bluefield, WV, and 1.16 inches in

Columbus, GA. On April 20, lingering rain along the Atlantic Seaboard led to record setting amounts in locations such as Wilmington, DE (2.37 inches); Portland, ME (2.20 inches); and Philadelphia, PA (2.01 inches). By midweek, rain returned to the south-central U.S., where

Victoria, TX (1.23 inches on April 22), received a daily record total. Farther north, snow showers in the Great Lakes States resulted in record setting amounts for April 22 in Grand Rapids, MI (0.1 inch), and Fort Wayne, IN (a trace). Toward week’s end, another broad area of precipitation stretched nearly from coast to coast. In Texas, San Antonio received 4.58 inches of rain on April 24-25. Elsewhere, record-setting rainfall for April 24 totaled 0.46 inch in Sacramento, CA, and 0.16 inch in Reno, NV. Elsewhere in Nevada, April 25 featured daily record amounts in Winnemucca (0.64 inch) and Las Vegas (0.26 inch).


Jim G. Munley, jr.

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