South to See Cooler Air Following Near-Record Warm Start to April

Jonathan Belles
Published: April 22, 2017

Early-season heat is slowly being banished by a burst of refreshing, slightly cooler-than-average air across the South.

In some locations, this temperature dive comes as part of a roller coaster ride that will start with temperatures 10 degrees above average.

Forecast High Temperatures

On Thursday, a few record highs were tied, including Birmingham, Alabama (88 degrees) and Galveston, Texas (83 degrees). On Friday, Athens, Georgia tied a record high (88 degrees). 

These record highs are nothing new this spring. Many communities across the South probably think this forecast for record heat is a broken record. You can find more perspective on this April warmth at the bottom of this article.

Late-Season Cooldown

Outside of the Pacific Northwest, most of the country has seen a lack of cooler-than-average air so far this month, but that is about to change.

On the heels of the potential for severe weather into this weekend, relatively cooler air is expected to filter southward from the central Plains into the South, as a low-pressure system shoots across the mid-South.

(MORE: Severe Weather to Sweep East This Weekend, and it Could Affect Your Weekend Plans)

Forecast Temperature and Departures

Sunday morning will feature temperatures in the 40s as far south as central Texas, with 30s in portions of the northern and central Plains.

(MORE: Summer 2017 Temperature Outlook)

On Sunday, the late-April cooldown will begin to wither, but not before bringing slightly cooler temperatures to the South and mid-Atlantic. Temperatures will top out in the 60s across portions of the Tennessee and Mississippi Valleys. Heat will try to hang on from the Carolinas to Florida, but even there, temperatures will begin to fall by late Sunday.

The last gasp of chilly weather will come Monday morning, when much of the Gulf Coast and East will see morning lows in the 40s and 50s. Warmer air will retreat to central and southern Florida, but the warmth will rebound across the Plains Monday afternoon.

No record lows are expected this weekend.

Southwest Warms Up

This mid-spring temperature drop will leave the Southwest in the dust. As the low-pressure system digs into the South, a ridge will build across the Southwest. 

Temperatures may approach the century mark in southern Arizona and the southeastern California deserts for the first time this year. 

Bishop, California, in the eastern part of the state, may even reach a record high. The current record for Saturday is 80 degrees, and they are currently forecast to be a few degrees above that. 

Early April Warmth

The month isn't yet finished, but it has been one of the warmest months of April on record.

Locations from northern Mississippi and northern Alabama into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast have seen one of the three warmest – if not the warmest – April-to-date on record.

(MORE: U.S. Warm Records Crushing Cold Records by Over 5-to-1 Ratio in 2017)

Ten locations in four states – Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina – plus the District of Columbia have seen the warmest April-to-date so far, through April 18. Washington D.C. and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, are two of those sites currently reporting the warmest April on record, both dating back more than 120 years.

Only stations that have a history of at least 30 years were considered, and thus Athens, Alabama, was not counted due to its shorter period of record.

Month-to-date average temperature rankings through April 18. A red "1" indicates that the location is having its warmest month-to-date on record.
(Southeast Regional Climate Center)

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