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April 2021 Global Weather Highlights

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James Munley

May 18, 2021, 6:38:28 PM5/18/21

APRIL 2021

1-3: High winds developed across parts of the Northwest. On the 28th, a wind gust to 88 mph in Cut Bank, MT, was the highest in March at that location since 2008. The following day, high winds raked the northern Plains and upper Midwest. Peak gusts on March 29 included 75 mph in Rapid City, SD; 71 mph in Livingston, MT; 70 mph in Hettinger and Williston, ND; and 68 mph in Valentine, NE. Those winds fanned several wildfires, including the Schroeder Fire, which scorched more than 2,200 acres of vegetation and destroyed eight structures near Rapid City.

Lingering heavy showers across the interior Southeast on March 28 resulted in daily-record totals in London, KY (1.46 inches), and Bristol, TN (1.04 inches). On March 28 in Tennessee, the Harpeth River near Kingston Springs crested 15.36 feet above flood stage, second only to the May 2010 high-water mark (26.00 feet above flood stage). Farther north, Caribou, ME, received 4.7 inches of snow from March 26-28, including a daily-record sum (3.0 inches) on the last day of the event. Following a few quiet days, locally heavy showers briefly returned across the Southeast. Daily-record amounts for March 31 totaled 1.70 inches in Crossville, TN, and 1.33 inches in Tuscaloosa, AL.

4-10: Back-to-back storm systems delivered widespread rain across the eastern half of country, except in the Northeast and along the southern Atlantic Coast. Weekly precipitation totaled 2 to 4 inches or more in several areas, including the middle Mississippi Valley and the central Gulf Coast region. Substantial precipitation also fell in parts of the upper Midwest, delivering drought relief in South Dakota and moistening soils in the upper Mississippi Valley.

As unsettled weather developed early in the week in the Northwest, high winds affected parts of the Southwest. In southern California, a wind gust to 97 mph was clocked on April 5 in Indian Wells Canyon. Meanwhile in Wyoming, Greybull (0.57 inch) and Worland (0.45 inch) received daily-record precipitation totals for April 6. The following day, record-setting amounts for April 7 reached 2.10 inches in Quincy, IL, and 1.56 inches in Sisseton, SD. Late in the week, another round of Midwestern rain resulted in a daily-record totals for April 10 in Moline, IL (2.55 inches), and Burlington, IA (2.39 inches). Heavy rain also soaked the central Gulf Coast region, where Mobile, AL, collected 3.48 inches—a record for April 10. On the same date, a thunderstorm in Jacksonville, FL, produced a wind gust to 60 mph—the secondhighest April gust on record in that location, behind only 67 mph on April 25, 1992. Elsewhere, January 1 – April 10 precipitation totals in North Dakota totaled less than one-half inch in locations such as Bismarck (0.49 inch, or 23 percent of normal), Jamestown (0.39 inch, or 19 percent), and Minot (0.22 inch, or 11 percent).

11-17: Torrential rain (locally 4 to 8 inches or more) sparked flooding in the central Gulf Coast region. Heavy rain (2 to 4 inches) also spread into parts of northern and central Florida. Late in the week, a pair of slow-moving storms delivered widespread precipitation— including some late-season snow— across the central Plains and Northeast.

As the week began, high winds swept across parts of the north-central U.S., while locally severe thunderstorms struck Florida. Before dawn on April 11, wind gusts were clocked to 68 mph in Rapid City, SD, and Greybull, WY. In Florida, record-setting rainfall totals for April 11 included 2.40 inches in Lakeland and 2.05 inches in Fort Pierce and Fort Myers. Early-week rain also soaked parts of the Northeast, where daily-record totals for April 11 reached 1.76 inches in Harrisburg, PA, and 1.18 inches in Rochester, NY. Mid-week snow developed across the Intermountain West and spread eastward. In Utah, Alta received 12.1 inches of snow in a 24-hour period on April 13-14, while Laketown measured 7.0 inches. Subsequently, a mid-April storm deposited snow in parts of Wyoming, western Nebraska, northeastern Colorado, and the northwestern corner of Kansas. April 14-16 totals included 8.4 inches in Scottsbluff, NE; 6.9 inches in Denver, CO; and 4.8 inches in Goodland, KS. Farther south, month-to-date rainfall through April 17 ranged from 10 to 15 inches (more than 400 percent of normal) in locations such as Gulfport, MS (14.95 inches); New Orleans, LA (12.84 inches); and Baton Rouge, LA (10.64 inches). Finally, April 15-16 featured heavy precipitation in parts of the Northeast. Islip, NY, netted a daily-record total (1.80 inches) for April 15. The following day, on the 16th, Worcester, MA, received 6.8 inches of snow, a record for the date.

25-30: Rain fell from Texas into the Northeast, slowing or halting fieldwork in some of the wettest areas. In fact, torrential rain triggered widespread flooding in the western Gulf Coast region, where totals locally exceeded 8 inches.

Heavy rain erupted around mid-week in parts of Texas, lingering for several days. Record-setting totals in Texas for April 28 included 3.29 inches in Abilene and 2.55 inches in San Antonio. For Abilene, it was the wettest April day since April 26, 1914, when 3.39 inches fell. Heavy, mid-week showers also spread across the Ohio Valley and lower Midwest, producing daily-record totals in Peoria, IL (3.05 inches), and Huntington, WV (1.90 inches). By April 29, when daily-record amounts included 2.46 inches in Binghamton, NY, and 1.49 inches in Midland, TX, showery weather continued in parts of Texas and gradually shifted into the mid-Atlantic. Late in the week, rainfall intensified along and near the Texas coast, where Victoria logged consecutive dailyrecord totals (2.69 and 5.01 inches, respectively) on April 30 – May 1. Elsewhere in Texas, daily-record rainfall totaled exactly 2.01 inches in San Antonio (on April 30) and Del Rio (on May 1). Four day (April 28 – May 1) rainfall reached 7.72 inches in Victoria and 7.13 inches in San Antonio. The San Bernard River near Boling, TX, crested on May 2 at 15.7 feet above flood stage—but 10.1 feet below the high-water mark set in the August 2017 aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Farther north, Binghamton, NY, received snowfall totaling 0.1 inch on April 30, following the previously mentioned deluge on the 29th.

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