April 2012 continued the warm spring that March had started across all of southeast Georgia and northeast Florida. Again, much of the region was dominated by high pressure at the surface and aloft and this lead to continued drier than normal conditions. The only significant rainfall came on April 21st and 22nd as a low pressure system crossed the Florida peninsula from the Gulf of Mexico and headed up the East Coast. This system brought average rainfall amounts around an inch and was followed by a brief significant cold airmass on the 23rd and 24th when temperatures fell into the upper 30s and 40s during the overnight hours. Otherwise, average temperatures for the month remained about 2 to 4 degrees above normal, although extreme record-breaking heat was not a significant issue. The warmer than normal ocean temperatures along the coast continued to keep St Simons Island well above normal with their 2nd warmest April on record behind only April 2002.
The lack of any significant rainfall since the beginning of the year has continued to exacerbate drought conditions with extreme to exceptional drought intensity reported across the region as can be seen in the latest version of the U.S. Drought Monitor here. Rainfall totals for the year are only 5 to 10 inches and are running about 5 to 10 inches below normal for this year alone, with rainfall departures of almost 20 inches over the past 12 months. In fact, the past 12 months are the driest on record at Gainesville with only 28.08 inches, and the 2nd driest on record at St Simons Island with only 27.39 inches.
Since the cold winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11 ended, the last 12 months have been the warmest on record across southeast Georgia, with St Simons Island (70.9 F) and Alma (69.4 F) both recording average temperatures about 2 to 3 degrees above normal over the last year. Even Gainesville, FL has seen its 4th warmest 12 month period on record averaging 71.5 F degrees.
April 2012 Climate Summary tables are listed below for temperature and precipitation
|Climate Station||April Avg Temp||Departure||April Rank||Monthly High||Monthly Low||Year-to-date Average Temp||YTD Rank||Last 12 months Average Temp||Last 12 months Rank|
|Jacksonville, FL||69.3 F||+ 2.3 F||46th Warmest||90 F on 2nd and 28th||40 F on 24th||63.1 F||22nd Warmest||68.9 F||28th Warmest|
|Gainesville, FL||70.5 F||+ 2.9 F||24th Warmest||91 F on 29th and 30th||40 F on 24th||64.8 F||10th Warmest||71.5 F||4th Warmest|
|Alma, GA||68.7 F||+ 2.5 F||12th Warmest||93 F on 29th||41 F on 7th||62.0 F||3rd Warmest||69.4 F||Warmest All-time|
|St Simons Island, GA||70.5 F||+ 4.0 F||2nd Warmest||89 F on 2nd and 26th||49 F on 24th||63.4 F||Warmest All-time||70.9 F||Warmest All-time|
|Climate Station||April Precip||Departure||April Rank||Wettest Day||Year-to-date Precip||YTD Departure||YTD Rank||Last 12 months Precip||Last 12 months Departure||Last 12 months Rank|
|Jacksonville, FL||1.47"||- 1.17"||31st Driest||1.06" on 21st||4.87"||- 8.21"||6th Driest||39.42"||- 12.97"||18th Driest|
|Gainesville, FL||0.91"||- 1.76"||19th Driest||0.81" on 22nd||6.18"||- 7.33"||7th Driest||28.08"||- 19.33"||Driest All-time|
|Alma, GA||1.57"||- 1.24"||18th Driest||0.89" on 21st||11.09"||- 4.53"||14th Driest||32.08"||- 14.57"||4th Driest|
|St Simons Island, GA||0.53"||- 1.96"||7th Driest||0.23" on 3rd||7.20"||- 5.86"||6th Driest||27.39"||- 17.61"||2nd Driest|
During the next 3 months (May, June and July), the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is continuing to forecast greater chances of above normal temperatures. While the precipitation forecast remains less predictible due to the demise of La Nina conditions in the Pacific and the onset of the "rainy" season due to afternoon/evening thunderstorm activity and thus the forecast of equal chances (EC) of above, below or normal rainfall totals. The CPC forecast can be viewed here.
Climate Focal Point