As we know, March 2012 was one for the record books.. and here in Eau Claire, ended up an astonishing 16 degrees above the last 30 year average.. easily making it the warmest March on record. The average temperature for the month was 47.4 degrees.. it doesn't sound very impressive, but again, a typical March is closer to 30 degrees.. which is the result of averaging out all the high and low temperatures for the month.
There's no doubt April has been much cooler, at least when acknowledging there have been no record highs broken, no 80 degree days recorded, and as of this writing, only three days so far have even hit the 70 degree mark. (There probably won't be any more either..) We have also had several bouts with sub-freezing temperatures at night, certainly challenging local produce growers who got such an early jump on the growing season. Having said all this, surprisingly, the month is still running a bit warmer than average. We have just under a week remaining in the month, but up to this date, we are running 2.7 degrees above the 30 year average. This is where the record March warmth really can be put into perspective.. even with April currently above average, if only by a few degrees, it is still .5 degrees COOLER than this past March's average temperature. April is currently averaging 46.9 degrees.. and looking at the final days of the month, we will be cooling down again, as the upper winds come from the northwest. This will just about insure April will end up being cooler than March.. likely an unprecedented event heading into the warm season, when temperatures are steadily climbing.
Looking at the jet stream to start off this week, a HUGE upper trough has taken hold of the east. This pocket of cold air in the upper levels of the atmosphere spawned the impressive Nor'easter that brought late season snows to portions of PA and NY, while coastal areas received heavy, but beneficial rainfall. A pattern like this is much more typical during the later fall and winter months.. and one which we didn't really see at all this last cold season.
Though this trough will be lifting out, looking at the jet stream this weekend, the polar branch remains active across the northern U.S., which will keep us on the cooler side.
Longer range outlooks are indicating this pattern will start to break down as we head into the first week of May, and possibly beyond. Below are the 6-10 day and 8-14 day temperature outlooks issued by the Climate Prediction Center.. As you can see, our part of the country is highlighted under increasingly favorable odds for above average temperatures to return into early may.
The recent temperature swings coming off a very warm March have left many people wondering what this all means for the upcoming summer. Correlations are tough to find, and many times short term trends have very little implication on the outcome of the next few seasons. Guess we'll just have to wait and see..