What is considered “normal” weather is determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which, every 10 years, tabulates average weather data for the previous 30 years. What is currently considered normal was computed last spring, using averaged measurements between 1991 and 2021.
To find what a normal April feels in every state, 24/7 Wall St. used NOAA normal temperature figures for April, specifically for April 1 to April 17. We also used daily temperature data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information from April 1 to April 17, 2022, to see how this April differed from what is considered normal. (To find how September was different, see: U.S. cities with the most unusual weather this year.)
This year, April’s weather mostly followed the trends that NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center projected to be most likely, based on weather patterns, with the South, mid-Atlantic, and Northeast experiencing warmer than normal temperatures, while the Northwest and Midwest got cooler. Also following predictions, April this year was drier than normal in California, Nevada, New Mexico – where it was much drier – and the Southwest. At the same time, the Midwest and Washington state were wetter.
The weather in a single month or a single year does not define a location’s climate, nor does it denote a trend, but weather patterns in some states signal a disturbing new normal. This is particularly true in the West and Southwest where the weather continues to get hotter and extreme drought conditions persist. This April’s averages underscore the concern: Texas was 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than normal, California 1.1 degrees, New Mexico 1.9 degrees, and Arizona a staggering 4.4 degrees hotter than normal. (See if these are also the states with the strongest sunlight.)
It is important to note that what is considered a normal temperature has changed markedly from previous normals. Since 1991, the first year of the current 30 year period, temperatures have averaged 1 to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the years between 1901 and 1960 across most of the United States except the Southeast, and this new normal includes the years between 2011 and 2020, the warmest decade on record.