By Arthur A. Francis
---- — This year, April temperatures averaged slightly cooler than normal. The highest temperature for the month was only 75 degrees on the 19th, while the coldest was a chilly low of 26 degrees on the 7th.
April is past and gave us a few of the usual spring showers. However, the rainfall amounts were far below normal. The only significant weather for the month was some light thunderstorm activity. We had two days with thunder and lightning, but with little rain associated with them.
Now we are happy to enjoy the continual rise in the temperature along with the resultant beautiful spring flower arrays. It’s tulip time.
The beautiful month of May, our first real spring month, has arrived. It’s going to be warmer, and we will experience many pleasant days along with an increase in showery precipitation. Our daytime high temperatures usually start out in the 60s, falling to the lower 50s by sunrise.
However, by month’s end, our high readings are in the pleasant 70s, with nocturnal lows in the mid-50s by sunrise.
We are fortunate to be living along the coast. During this time of year, the ocean water temperature is still quite cold. Thus, when our neighboring locales inland have some very hot days, we are refreshed with the cooling sea breezes.
Looking back over the past 30 years, our highest May temperature here in Salem was a summerlike 97 degrees in 1987. Even though we have sea breezes, it is possible to have a May heat wave. In 2001, we had a three-day heat wave here at Salem during the first few days of the month. In contrast, our lowest reading was a winterlike 30 degrees in 2010.
Although we normally receive around 3 inches of rain in May, we have had some very significant rainfall amounts. Sometimes, the heavier rain events have resulted in serious unwanted flooding. As recently as 2006, we had an impressive total of 16.24 inches! That same month, we had three thunderstorms, one with hail.
Arthur A. Francis is a Salem meteorologist.
SALEM APRIL FACTS
Temperatures: High 75, low 26, average 47 degrees
Prevailing wind: Southwest
Peak gust: Southwest 43 mph on the 3rd
Rainfall: 1.86 inches