April continues string of weirdly hot Austin weather


Highlights

This April was only the 15th-hottest on record.

It follows the warmest March on record and the warmest three-month start to the year ever in Austin.

It could have been worse.

In a year that has been shattering various heat records, this April was only the 15th-hottest on record at Austin’s Camp Mabry. The average temperature was 71.2 degrees, with the afternoon highs tending to reach that fuzzy area between balmy and hot, at an average 82.7 degrees, according to National Weather Service data. At the end of the month, temperatures in four out of the last six days hit 90 or higher.

So no, you’re not crazy — it has been weirdly hot.

“Is it still April?” Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose tweeted on April 28, when both Camp Mabry and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport set record highs of 95 degrees, with a heat index that pushed above 100 degrees.

April was also weirdly dry. It is typically not a wet month, but with only 1.22 inches falling at Camp Mabry and 1.02 inches at Bergstrom, this April saw about half its normal rainfall. And remember those storms that threatened to soak the region (and did leave parts of San Marcos and Killeen underwater)? It was as if Austin had started generating a force field at the city limits, pushing storms to the north and south but leaving many Austinites yawning about weather nonevents.

One set of storms, which hit April 11, arrived nearly a day behind schedule, thanks to the cold front, which had triggered them, stalling for a time. The front fooled all of the region’s forecasters, prompting sheepish mea culpas and reminders that meteorology is complicated and that no forecast is perfect.

Another round of storms should be rolling across the region Wednesday. A low pressure system that can allow moisture to rise into storm clouds has been moving southeast along with a cold front. The moisture is flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters don’t expect severe weather, though. The National Weather Service’s forecast on Tuesday called for a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday, with some places in Central Texas getting a quarter- to a half-inch of rain and a few places potentially seeing a little more.

After the storms, expect clear skies, with temperatures back into the mid-80s by Friday.

This April followed the hottest March on record, which capped off the hottest three-month start to the year ever. But for those worried that summer could melt the soles of their Chuck Taylors, worry not. This summer should see about average temperatures and rainfall, according to Rose’s forecast.

Well, worry a little: This is Texas, after all, and average here means a summer in which the pavement should do just fine for frying up some eggs.

Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas generally agree with Rose’s assessment, saying in a Tuesday conference call with reporters that the state should have plenty of electricity to handle summer demand. Expect about the normal number of 100-degree days, or perhaps a handful more.

Calvin Opheim, the reliability council’s manager of load forecasting and analysis, said the organization expects “near-normal or slightly above normal temperatures” this summer. Rose said he expects 15 to 20 days of 100-plus degree heat.



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