Published April 23, 2013
A series of April snowstorms has caused many records to fall and extreme temperature swings from Colorado to Minnesota. The latest storm to impact the Plains early this week appears to be the caboose of the storm train with the weather pattern expected to ease.
"There are no more major cold outbreaks in the pipeline," AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews said. "So, it looks like the end of record-breaking April snowfall and also the extreme temperature swings over the Plains, where it is nearly summery on one day and downright wintry on the next day."
It is still cold in western Canada, and cooler air may still be unleashed over the northern Plains at times into May, according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok. However, the temperature swings that occur into May will be more typical of spring compared to the recent extremes.
One sign of the changing pattern is the threat of major flooding along Red River of the northern U.S. as surging warmth this weekend threatens to melt unusually deep late-season snowpack.
"Well, spring in here on the calendar, whether it has been in reality or not. You can only hold back reality for so long. And that reality is that daytime temperatures should be well above freezing in North Dakota and Minnesota. We have held back reality with repeated rounds of cold. The sudden return of reality [this weekend] means that the snow is going to disappear very fast," Andrews said.
"By the end of the week, the normal high in Fargo is 64 degrees, so if it reaches 70 it's not that unusual," Andrews said.
Statistics on the Cold and Snow in the Plains April 2013
A total of 995 daily snowfall records have been broken during the month so far as of April 22, 2013, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). As a comparison, last year during the same timeframe, 195 snowfall records had been broken.
According to NOAA, 91.9 percent of the Upper Midwest is covered by snow currently, whereas only 0.4 percent of the Upper Midwest was covered by snow on April 23, 2012.
The map above (from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center) shows that 91.9 percent of the Upper Midwest is covered by snow on April 23, 2013.
Duluth, Minn., had a record daily snowfall of 8.2 inches on Monday. The old record of 7.8 inches was set in 1972.
Snow and cold made it all the way down into Texas on Tuesday morning.
Childress, Texas, had a high of 92 degrees on Monday before temperatures plunged into the 30s overnight with snow arriving.