I have a passion for Mother Nature's fury, serenity, and beauty. I express my soul through my music and photography. B.S. in Meteorology from TX A&M.
By: LPerezIII , 1:52 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
April 2012 vs. April 2011
And a look Ahead
We all know 2011 was the year of the worst drought Texas has ever seen, at least since records began in the late 1800s. Many record high temperatures were broken across the state as well. This year started off with quite a bit of rain for southeast Texas, but how does April 2012 compare to April 2011 for the Houston/Galveston area? How does the performance so far compare to normal climate averages? And what are the expectations for the next few months?
For that information, we can check the local climatology on the National Weather Service Houston/Galveston website.
We're going to look at the following statistics: The Highest and Lowest temperature for the month, the average high and low temperature, the amount of rainfall for the month, and records set in these areas since the tracking of records began in 1875.
Galveston, TX April 2012 April 2011
Highest Temperature 86 95*
Lowest Temperature 58 55
Avg. High 80 81
Avg. Low 69 69
Rainfall Amount 1.99 Inches 0.12 Inches
*Current April Record - Set on 4/27/2011
In Galveston for April there is not a huge difference in the average high and low temperatures, but April 2011 sure got warm at the end of the month setting a new April record high of 95 degrees. It was also extremely dry with only 0.12 inches for the month. This year is looking better, and much more normal. For April 2012, the island recorded 1.99 inches of rainfall. Let's hope we get the same performance or better for May!
Houston, TX April 2012 April 2011
Highest Temperature 88 93
Lowest Temperature 52 41
Avg. High 83 86
Avg. Low 64 64
Rainfall Amount 3.28 Inches 0.11 Inches
Houston had much of the same story as Galveston - they are close neighbors, so that is the expectation to an extent. Thankfully, 3.28 inches of rain fell in April in Houston.
Interestingly, both the record highest and lowest temperatures for April in Houston (IAH) occurred in 1987. A record April low of 31 degrees was recorded on 4/3/87 and a record April high of 95 degrees was recorded on 4/28/87. While I'm not entirely sure how often the record high and record low temperature for a given month, for one location, occurs in the same year I'd venture to say it is fairly rare.
The following two charts shows 2012's progress of climate (Temperature and Precipitation) as compared to the normal climate.
By the data contained in these two charts it looks like, temperature-wise, both Galveston and Houston are on track in the normal region. Galveston does show a slant toward overall warmer temps, but this is likely due to the warmer than normal water temperature that resulted from a rather mild winter and quick spring warm-up. Galveston's proximity to the water has a dramatic effect on temperature across the island. While most people just "know" this as the truth, the chart confirms this by the width of the temperature range as compared to Houston throughout the year. Take July for example; Galveston's normal temperatures in July range from just below 80 degrees to just below 90 degrees. Houston however goes from about 75 degrees to nearly 95 degrees. Houston has a larger temperature variation by about 9 degrees compared to Galveston thanks to the water temperature regulating Galveston's air temperature. It's no wonder a good majority of Houstonians like to visit the Island. It's a nice break from the heat of the city!
As far as precipitation, both locations are above normal for 2012, thus far. After the drought in 2011, all of TX could use the abundance of rain through the year. Let's hope it continues above normal.
Looking ahead, the following map shows the three-month outlook for temperature Below (blue) or Above (orange) the average temperatures.
For our region, southeast Texas, there is a 40% of Above normal temperatures. This map, generated by the Climate Prediction Center, takes into account too many variables to cover here, but a big one is El Nino/La Nina, and the consensus is that El Nino is developing which will lead to higher than normal temperatures across the southern U.S.
The next map is the same as above but for Precipitation.
For May-June-July the Climate Prediction Center is leaning towards an Equal Chance of a Below Normal, Normal, or Above Normal amount of rainfall. Only the northwest US has a below normal probability of 30-40%. Again, this is typical El Nino pattern.
Overall, it is shaping up as a better, wetter, more consistent year than 2011 for Texas.
Enjoy the weather through the weekend. Next significant chances for rainfall will appear mid-week next week.
I'll continue to update every Thursday until the weather demands more attention.
Thanks for reading.
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