April Climate Summary for Huntsville and Muscle Shoals

Temperatures... 

Temperatures for the month of April finished around three degrees above normal at Huntsville and Muscle Shoals.  The monthly average of 64.7 degrees at Huntsville was 2.9 degrees above normal, and tied Aprils in 1908, 1957 and 2010 as the 11th warmest on record.  At Muscle Shoals, the monthly average of 64.5 degrees was 3.1 degrees above normal, and tied Aprils in 1965, 1977 and 2001 as the 16th warmest on record there.  For the first several days of the month, temperatures averaged around 10 to 15 degrees above normal as the unusually strong ridge that held sway across much of the eastern continental United States during the month of March continued to dominate the weather in the Tennessee Valley.  This feature finally began to break down by the end of the first week, allowing a cooler airmass to move into the region.  Temperatures fell initially on the 5th and 6th, but fell further as a cool Canadian airmass slipped into the Southeast towards the end of the second week.  Morning lows eventually fell into the 30s at many locations across the area from the 11th through the 13th.  While neither Huntsville nor Muscle Shoals reached freezing, some other locations did experience their last freeze of the cold season on the 12th. Temperatures climbed quickly, reaching the 80s at most locations by the middle of the month, but this was followed by another quick cool-down at the start of the 4th week.  Morning lows fell into the 30s and 40s across the area from the 21st through the 24th.  Temperatures then climbed sharply on the 25th, with morning lows starting out in the 50s and 60s as a very moist airmass moved back into the region.  Daytime highs climbed well into the 80s at many locations through the remainder of the month.  The high temperature reached 90 degrees for the first time this year on April 30th at Muscle Shoals, but was just one degree shy at Huntsville.  

Of note: if this year has seemed mild to you, then your intuition is correct.  Temperatures from January 1st through April 30th rank as the warmest on record at both Huntsville and Muscle Shoals.  The average of 56.0 degrees during the 1st four months of the year at Huntsville is 1.9 degrees warmer than the next closest year, 1925.  At Muscle Shoals, the average of 56.2 degrees is 1.7 degrees warmer than the 2nd place ranking, which occurred in 1938.                    

Daily Temperature Graphs for the month of April for each location (click on the images for a larger version).

Huntsville - Apr 2012 Temperature Graph

Muscle Shoals - Apr 2012 Temperature Graph

Daily Temperatures for Huntsville April 2012 - click on the image for a larger version. Daily Temperatures for Muscle Shoals April 2012 - click on the image for a larger version.

Temperature Statistics for the Month of April at Huntsville and Muscle Shoals. All temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.

April Statistics

Huntsville

Muscle Shoals

Average Monthly Temperature 64.7 64.5
Normal Temperature* 61.8 61.4
Deviation From Normal 2.9 Above Normal 3.1 Above Normal
Monthly Ranking** 11th Warmest 16th Warmest
Warmest April 67.5 (1925) 68.8 (1925)
Coldest April 54.5 (1907) 53.8 (1907)
Max Temperature (Apr 2012) 89 degrees on the 30th 90 degrees on the 30th
Min Temperature (Apr 2012) 36 degrees on the 12th 34 degrees on the 12th
All-Time Max Temperature

95 (Apr 22nd 1925)

96 (Apr 24th and 25th 1925)
All-Time Min Temperature

24 (Apr 1st 1923)

24 (Apr 13th 1940)
     (Apr 2nd 1924)
     (Apr 6th 1898)

Record Highs (Apr 2012) None

86 on the 2nd 

Record Lows (Apr 2012) None None

 

Precipitation...

While temperatures were above normal across the area during April, precipitation was below normal.  In fact, by the end of the month, precipitation tallied less than one inch in parts of northern Alabama and southern middle Tennessee, including Muscle Shoals, where the 0.90 inch that fell there during the month ranked as the 4th lowest on record for April.  Huntsville received a little more precipitation, mainly due to some shower and thunderstorm activity on the April 4th and 5th.  However, the total of 2.18 inches at Huntsville was low enough to rank as the 16th driest April.  After the showers and storms of the 4th and 5th, that brought beneficial rains to areas from Russellville to the Huntsville/Decatur metro to Valley Head, rainfall was quite sparse for the rest of the month.  Muscle Shoals received nearly all of its rainfall for the month on the 16th and 17th, when 0.76 inches was recorded at the offical airport location.  Otherwise, conditions were generally dry for the month.  By the end of April, conditions were classified as D0 (abnormally dry) across nearly all of northern Alabama and southern middle Tennessee.          

Radar Precipitation Estimates and Departures from Normal for the Month of April for the Huntsville Forecast Area (amounts are in units of inches).

Radar Precipitation Estimates

Radar Precipitation Departures from Normal

Radar precipitation estimates - click on the image for a larger version Radar estimated precipitation anomalies - click on the image for a larger version

April Precipitation Statistics for Huntsville and Muscle Shoals (amounts are in units of inches).

April Statistics

Huntsville

Muscle Shoals

Monthly Precipitation 2.18 0.90
Normal Precipitation 4.32 4.76
Departure from Normal 2.14 Below Normal 3.45 Below Normal
Monthly Ranking 16th Driest 4th Driest
Wettest April 14.00 (1911) 12.81 (1983)
Driest April 0.25 (1906) 0.36 (1986)
Wettest Calendar Day (April 2012) 1.29 (Apr 5th) 0.54 (Apr 17th)
Record Wettest Day 4.10 (Apr 7th, 1918) 5.45 (Apr 12th, 1893)

 


The Monthly Outlook for May from the Climate Prediction Center...

The one month temperature outlook indicates higher chances for above normal temperatures for the central Tennessee Valley climatic zones, based on the 3-tiered categories. The probabilities are as follows...

Above Normal....~37%
Near Normal......33%
Below Normal......~30%

The one month precipitation outlook indicates equal chances for above, near or below normal precipitation for the central Tennessee Valley climatic zones, based on the 3-tiered categories.  The probabilities are as follows...

Above Normal....33%
Near Normal......34%
Below Normal....33%

What is normal for May?  ...Huntsville daily normals and records / Muscle Shoals daily normals and records


* Normal temperatures and precipitation are based on the 1981-2010 climatological period.  All temperature data are expressed in degrees Fahrenheit.  

** Temperature data for Huntsville go back to 1907, while precipitation data are available since 1894.  Any months that contain missing daily temperature or precipitation data are not counted in the rankings. 

*** Temperature and precipitation data for Muscle Shoals go back to 1893, however sporadic outages of data occur especially in the 1910s and again from September 1995 through May 1997.  Any months that contain missing daily temperature or precipitation data are not counted in the rankings. 

Note...all data above are preliminary and have not undergone final quality control by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).  Therefore, these data are subject to revision.  Final and certified data can be accessed at the NCDC at the following location...
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov

One month and seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks may be obtained from the Climate Prediction Center at the following location...
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

KDW


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