Record Cold and Snow Contribute to One of Worst Starts to April in Midwest, Northern Plains

Chris Dolce
Published: April 18, 2018

Weather conditions in the first half of April were among the worst on record in the northern Plains and Midwest thanks to a combination of persistent cold and multiple bouts of snowfall.

Of course, this all depends on what you favor when it comes to weather conditions. If you like cold temperatures and snow in early spring, then this weather pattern has been a real treat.

(MORE: Winter Storm Central)

One-Two Punch of Cold and Snow

The first two weeks of April ranked among the five coldest for dozens of cities from Montana eastward to Michigan.

The cold temperatures April 1 to 14 set a record for that period of time in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Sioux City, Iowa, according to data from the Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC). For Chicago, Kansas City and Omaha, Nebraska, it was the fifth-, fourth- and second-coldest April 1 to 14 on record, respectively.

Purple dots are locations that saw a record cold first two weeks of April. The blue dots are locations where the first two weeks of April ranked in the top five coldest.

A sizable swath of the nation from the northern Plains to the interior Northeast was colder than Anchorage, Alaska, during the first half of April, according to a map created by climatologist Brian Brettschneider. Some locations in the upper Midwest and far northern Maine were colder than Fairbanks, Alaska.

Waves of cold air riding a southward dip in the jet stream east of the Rockies have contributed to this winterlike early-spring weather across the nation's northern tier.

Given the foundation of cold air in place, several weather systems have been able to spread snow across the Midwest, which has set records, as well.

Thanks to Winter Storm Xanto last weekend, April 2018 is now the snowiest April on record in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Wausau, Wisconsin, and Alpena, Michigan.

Green Bay has more than doubled its April snow record with 36.2 inches through April 15; the previous April record was 15.1 inches in 1907.

Minneapolis/St. Paul also surpassed its April snow record by a significant margin with 26 inches through April 15. That tops the previous record of 21.8 inches in April 1983.

The snowiest April on record has been clinched in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, by more than a half-foot. Through April 15, the month-to-date total is 25.2 inches, besting the previous record of 18.4 inches set in 1983.

One could argue that Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sioux Falls and Green Bay are the locations that have suffered most. All three cities have received a one-two punch of record cold in April's first two weeks, as well as their snowiest April on record.

(MORE: When Spring's Last Snow Typically Happens)


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