A look back at March, and ahead to April

As we all know, we've been experiencing some extraordinary weather in Indiana and Kentucky recently, with temperatures more than 20 degrees above normal.  The charts below show how our temperatures have fared this month so far.  Note how in some cases our daily low temperatures have been warmer than our normal highs!

 

 Understandably, many of us are nervous about what might be in store later this month and into April.  The devastation that occurred in April 2007 is still fresh in local farmers' and gardeners' minds as well.  Could something like that happen again?

The current local forecast, roughly through the first week of April, calls for temperatures to dip no lower than the low 40s.  This is supported by the Climate Prediction Center's 6-10-to day temperature forecast:

CPC 6-to-10 day temperature forecast

And the center's 30-day forecast calls for a good chance of a warm April:

CPC April ouotlook

Of course, it is still early in the season, and frosty temperatures are known to happen well into April and even May.

  Earliest Final 28° Average Final 28° Latest 28°
Louisville  February 12, 2011 March 24 April 23, 1986
Lexington February 15, 2011 April 3 May 10, 1966
Bowling Green February 23, 2011 March 28 April 26, 1873
Frankfort February 26, 1905 April 4 May 1, 1963
(all data used on this page are taken from each site's entire period of record, back to the late 1800s)

  Earliest Final 32° Average Final 32° Latest 32°
Louisville March 5, 1927 April 6 May 10, 1966
Lexington March 17, 1929 April 15 May 20, 1894
Bowling Green March 18, 1929 and 1935 April 10 May 11, 1885
Frankfort March 25, 1912 April 17 May 22, 2002
 

How does this March stack up historically?

  Warmest Average Temperature March 1-30 March 1-30, 2012
Louisville (old record) 56.9° in 1945 and 1910 59.6° (#1)
Lexington (old record) 54.8° in 1921 56.4° (#1)
Bowling Green (old record) 59.4° in 1921 60.9° (#1)
Frankfort 56.6° in 1921 56.0° (#2)

  Warmest Average High March 1-30 March 1-30, 2012
Louisville (old record) 68.4° in 1910 70.7° (#1)
Lexington (old record) 65.1° in 1910 and 1921 67.1° (#1)
Bowling Green 72.3° in 1921

 73.2° (#1)

Frankfort 68.6° in 1921

67.8° (#3)

  Warmest Average Low March 1-30 March 1-30, 2012
Louisville (old record) 47.4° in 1945 48.6° (#1)
Lexington (old record) 44.5° in 1921 and 1946 45.7° (#1)
Bowling Green (old record) 46.5° in 1921 48.6° (#1)
Frankfort 44.5° in 1921 44.1° (#3)

 Record number of 80 degree days in March:

  Record 2012
Louisville (old record)  8 in 1907 9
Lexington 6 in 1907 3
Bowling Green 11 in 1907, 1910, and 2012 11
Frankfort 8 in 1907 4

How unusual are 80 degree days in March?  The following table shows how many times each frequency of 80 degree days in March has occurred.

  1 80° day 2 80° days 3 80° days 4 80° days 5 80° days 6 or more 80° days
Louisville 16 11 0 1 1 2
Lexington 11 4 2 2 0 1
Bowling Green 18 6 7 3 2 3
Frankfort 11 4 2 2 1 1

So, does a very warm March tend to predict how April will be?  Let's look at some very warm Marches, and see how the following April turned out.  This first table shows average monthly temperature for our warmest Marches, and what the average monthly temperature of the following April turned out to be:

  Average March Temperature Average April temperature
Year Louisville Lexington Bowling Green Frankfort Louisville Lexington Bowling Green Frankfort
1907 54.5 51.5 57.1 54.5 48.0 45.3 50.8 48.2
1908 51.4 49.6 53.8 51.0 56.8 54.7 61.4 56.4
1910 57.0 54.4 57.0 53.7 56.8 54.2 57.9 56.0
1921 55.7 54.5 59.1 56.5 59.0 57.5 60.3 58.3
1945 56.9 54.5 57.1 54.4 58.2 57.1 59.1 58.0
1946 56.3 54.6 56.3 55.9 58.0 56.9 59.7 59.0
Average from entire period of record 46.0 44.4 48.2 44.6 56.5 54.5 57.9 54.6

So, out of the 6 very warm Marches listed above, the following April was...

Louisville 5 warm, 1 cold
Lexington 4 warm, 2 cold
Bowling Green 4 warm, 1 normal, 1 cold
Frankfort 5 warm, 1 cold

So, it would appear that after a very warm March, April tends to be warm as well.  However, there can still be chilly days during the month, as we look at the frequency of 32° and 28° readings in the Aprils that followed those six very warm Marches:

Year Lowest April Temperature Number of 32° days in April Number of 28° days in April
  Louisville Lexington Bowling Green Frankfort Louisville Lexington Bowling Green Frankfort Louisville Lexington Bowling Green Frankfort
1907 27 23 26 25 6 11 8 9 2 5 4 4
1908 29 26 28 28 2 3 2 2 0 1 1 1
1910 33 28 30 31 0 3 2 1 0 1 0 0
1921 32 26 30 29 1 3 2 2 0 1 0 0
1945 35 31 31 28 0 1 3 3 0 0 0 1
1946 31 32 31 30 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 0

As a sidebar, you may have noticed that 1907 was the exception to the rule above, as an incredibly cold April followed a very warm March that year.  How do those two months rank today?

  March 1907 April 1907
Louisville 5th warmest 1st coldest
Lexington 7th warmest 1st coldest
Bowling Green 2nd warmest 2nd coldest
Frankfort 3rd warmest 1st coldest

Let's hope we don't repeat 1907!  (Or 2007, either!)



Return to News Archive

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.