Where is the time going? We're already charging full speed ahead into spring!
As we rounded the corner into the month of April, I gave my best guess at what the month might hold in store. I called for the pattern to remain active with rain and storm chances every 3 to 5 days, and that we'd continue to ride the temperature rollercoaster. My prediction was for temperatures to finish slightly above average, with precipitation above average for the month.
How did I do? I'll give myself a pat on the back for this one.
April 2019 comes in at 0.7 degrees above average in Champaign-Urbana, finishing with an average temperature of 52.7 degrees, just above the average of 52.0. Precipitation came in high, with 4.89" eclipsing the monthly average of 3.68" by over an inch.
How did we get there? Let's look at temperatures first.
The month got off to a chilly first few days, before rattling off a week long stretch from April 4-11 where we never fell below average, enjoying our first string of 70-degree days.
The temperature rollercoaster did indeed continue through the entire month. After April 11th, we never saw a stretch of more than four consecutive days either above or below average. In fact, we were making multiple flips from well-below average to well-above average each week. A high temperature of 76 degrees on April 11th, followed by a high of 43 degrees on April 14th, followed again by a high temperature of 78 on April 17th? That's a week in Central Illinois for you!
How about my "rain and storms every 3 to 5 days" prediction?
Not bad, either! We saw rain on 13 of 30 days in the month of April, with the longest streak of dry days being six from April 20-26. Other than that six day stretch, consecutive dry day stretches ended at 4, 1, 1, 1, 2, and 1.
Farmers ain't happy.
Spring 2019 has certainly delivered on active expectations, so where do we see things going in May? Last year we flipped to warm and just stayed there. May 2019 looks to follow a slightly different script.
The average monthly temperature for May in Champaign-Urbana is 62.5 degrees, and the average monthly precipitation is 4.89".
I think we'll likely finish the month warmer than average, and near but slightly below average for precipitation. A drier month?? It's not a typo, and I don't think I'm going insane.
We're off to an active start the first month of May, with showers and thunderstorms in the forecast through mid-week. After that, it looks like things may slow down a little bit. A ridge of high pressure is expected to develop over the Southeastern U.S. which should keep warmer temperatures nearly steady in the Midwest. We'll see cooler stretches within that, but overall I think we average out to a warmer month.
The ridge of high pressure to our southeast will also keep us slightly drier, though not shutting us down entirely by a long shot. I still think we'll stay plenty active in terms of storm systems, but perhaps shift away from the extreme precipitation rates of the last couple of months. This means a more typical May, which is still quite stormy. Expect severe thunderstorms to make their seasonally appropriate return to the Midwest as well — especially late this month.
So, a May 2019 that finishes warmer than average, and near or slightly below average for precipitation? We'll find out, together.
Andrew operates Chambana Weather, where he publishes daily weather information for Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities. He is also an agricultural meteorologist with Nutrien Ag Solutions at Research Park, focused on domestic and international weather and its impact on ag.
Photos by Andrew Pritchard