Despite ups and downs, April weather about average

The month of April lacked its typical showers and took area residents on a roller coaster ride of temperature fluctuations.

“The temperature ended up being one degree above normal, but we sure went on a yo-yo to get there,” said local weather watcher Charlie Worsham.

April’s average high temperature was 67.4 degrees, about .8 degrees above the normal area average. The average low came in 1.3 degrees above normal for the month, at 43.1 degrees.

The fluctuations, particularly a cool dip toward the end of the month, have affected the season of some local growers.

“We’re probably two if not three weeks behind this year,” said Mike Ennemoser, garden center manager for Greenleaf Landscapes.

April started out cool, with highs in the 50s the first three days. By the April 10, the high had soared to 85, tying the previous high set in 1944. The high then dipped back to the 50s on April 20.

“We just had a frost about a week ago, so the trees are just really starting to develop their leaves and last year they were done blooming around this time,” noted Ennemoser.

Because conditions are dry, Ennemoser warned gardeners to watch and water their plants if the recent temperature hike continues.

“This week has been completely dry and if that is compounded with some heat, then it could cause some problems,” he said.

April marked the fourth month in a row of below average rainfall, said Worsham.

Only 1.43 inches of rain fell in April, less than half of the 3.40 inches of precipitation the month typically sees. And while April typically wraps up the year’s snowfall with an average .6 inches, this year there was none.

“If May is dry, we’ll officially be in a moderate drought,” warned Worsham.

April’s lackluster rainfall puts the area 4.5 inches behind the current yearly average.

The dryness is less of a concern for ornamental gardeners or those who irrigate their crops.

In fact, with their irrigation system, Witten Farm Market & Greenhouse prefers the slightly drier weather.

“With the irrigation, we can always pump water onto the field, but we can’t always pump it off,” said Tom Witten, whose family owns and operates the Lowell-based farm market.

However, last year’s drought forced the farm to spend more money on irrigation than usual, something he would not mind avoiding this year.

“We’ve got sweet corn that is about six inches tall and it could use some rain,” he said.

May will hopefully bring steadier temperatures, said Witten.

“The forecast is looking pretty good. I think we’re done with frost,” he said.

With any luck, strawberries will soon be ready to pick, he said.

But said Worsham, the National Weather service is predicting that May will continue to be drier and hotter than normal, officially pushing the area into a moderate drought designation.

Farmers without irrigations systems could be facing hard times if the precipitation falls too short, he said.

“We can’t afford another drought like last year. We’re getting into grow season and I’m hoping that we have some more rainfall than we’ve been having,” he said.