Ag Weather Forum

Record Rainfall Revisited; Heavy Late-April Rains Were Impressive

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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Many locations across the central U.S. had two inches or more precipitation during late April. (NOAA Graphic)

Following is an excerpt from the USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin of Tuesday, May 3. The summary of rain during late April from the northwestern Plains to the eastern Midwest is worth noting. These rains in many locations were record large. The rain also gave a big dose of soil moisture -- and at this point has made the winter wheat crop look very promising. --Bryce

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Record-breaking totals for April 24 reached 2.91 inches in Miles City, MT, and 1.50 inches in Casper, WY. For Miles City, it was also the wettest day (in any month) and April day on record—previous standards had been 2.71 inches on June 18, 1964, and 2.06 inches on April 27, 1989, respectively. For Casper, it was the fourth-wettest April day behind 2.80 inches on April 13, 1941; 1.82 inches on April 20, 1974; and 1.57 inches on April 2, 1964. Elsewhere in Wyoming, daily-record amounts for April 24 included 1.71 inches in Sheridan and 1.42 inches in Buffalo.

The following day, record-setting amounts for April 25 in Michigan totaled 1.05 inches in Marquette and 0.96 inch in Gaylord. In Montana, daily-record snowfall totals for April 25 reached 2.0 inches in Havre and 1.7 inches in Glasgow. By April 26, separate areas of snow blanketed New England and the northern Intermountain West. In the former region, daily-record snowfall amounts for the 26th included 2.2 inches in Portland, ME, and 2.1 inches in Burlington, VT. On the same date, daily-record snowfall amounts in Wyoming climbed to 9.9 inches in Casper and 3.6 inches in Riverton. From April 24-30, Casper's precipitation totaled 3.29 inches, including 11.8 inches of snow.

Meanwhile, several waves of rain swept across the Plains, Midwest, and mid-South. On April 26, daily-record rainfall totals in Missouri climbed to 3.65 inches in Kansas City and 3.05 inches in St. Joseph. April 27 featured record-setting rainfall amounts in South Dakota locations such as Mitchell (2.32 inches) and Huron (2.09 inches).

In late April, another round of precipitation emerged from the West. In Little Rock, AR, April 29-30 rainfall reached 5.59 inches. On the same dates, precipitation in Denver, CO, totaled 0.88 inch, including 3.5 inches of snow. North Platte, NE, collected a daily-record snowfall of 2.3 inches on April 30. Elsewhere in Nebraska, Kearney completed its wettest April on record, with 8.39 inches (previously, 7.59 inches in 1944). The last day of April featured daily-record amounts in locations such as Lake Charles, LA (3.34 inches), and Sioux City, IA (1.59 inches).

Meanwhile, Las Vegas, NV (0.93 inch on April 30), reported its second-wettest April day behind 0.97 inch on April 12, 1965—capping its second-wettest April (2.26 inches) trailing only 2.44 inches in 1965. In Arizona, it became the wettest April 30 on record in locations such as Prescott (0.40 inch) and Winslow (0.34 inch). In contrast, no measurable precipitation fell in Caribou, ME, from April 13 -- May 1, becoming the longest dry spell in that location since March 1-20, 2010.



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