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April and May set weather records


Debbie Johnson
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9183

Photo available for this release:

“Bad weather always looks worse through a window.” ~ Tom Lehrer, mathematician

Credit: Trish Steel

Description: Weather Vane

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013

Story source:

Pat Guinan, 573-882-5908

"Extension on the Go" podcast by Debbie Johnson. Episode 67: April and May Weather Records

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Lots of rain, low temperatures and even snow set weather records in April and May in Missouri.

“You can’t get much more of a difference, last spring versus this spring,” said Pat Guinan, climatologist for the University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Program. “April was 2-3 degrees below normal in Missouri, making it the coolest since 1997.”

Guinan says when you look at temperatures in both March and April, it was the coolest in nearly 30 years. But it wasn’t just cool. It was very wet.

“We’ve had four consecutive months of above-normal precipitation,” Guinan said.

One thing is certain: All the rain in April has erased nearly all the drought in Missouri.

“There is no short-term drought whatsoever to speak of here in Missouri,” Guinan said. “Perhaps in the far northwestern corner of the state we do have some residual drought from last year’s conditions, but they’ve improved significantly over the past few weeks.”

April’s showers didn’t translate into May flowers but rather temperatures in the 30s and snow.

“Several inches of snow in May has only happened a couple of times over the past 100-plus years,” Guinan said. “Back in 1929 there were reports of 4-6 inches in the Ozarks northeastward to St. Louis, and then in 1907 portions of north central and northwest Missouri had several inches of snow.”

While the snow in May was very unusual, the temperatures for May 3, 2013, set all-time monthly records in several locations.

“On May 3, high temperatures never climbed out of the 30s,” Guinan said. “That was unprecedented for many locations for any day in May, and we have records that go back to 1895. For example, Columbia’s high temperature on May 3 was 37 degrees. The previous lowest-maximum-temperature record was 43 degrees, and that occurred on May 5, 1944, and May 1, 1940.”