By the Numbers, 2012 Temperatures are Setting Records

By the Numbers, 2012 Temperatures are Setting Records

May 4, 2012

It's not a surprise, but a review of temperatures for April, as well as the first four months of 2012, show just how unusual this warm spell has been. The following information is excerpted from this week's Agricultural Outlook report by Nebraska State Climatologist Al Dutcher on the Nebraska State Climate Office website.

  • Map of average temperatures in Nebraska for April

    Average temperatures in Nebraska for April.  (Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center)

  • Average temperatures across Nebraska for April ranged from 49°F in the northwest to 59°F in the extreme southeast. For most of the state, these temperatures were 4-6°F above normal. The highest temperature recorded for the month was 97°F at McCook on April 25. (Note: Since this station takes morning observations, the high temperature likely occurred during the afternoon hours of the April 24.)
  • Of the 181 stations with valid temperature data, 151 reached 90°F. Thirty stations, most of which were in the Panhandle, did not hit 90°F during April.
  • The lowest minimum temperature recorded in April was 15°F at the Harrison reporting station on April 24.
  • Nebraska has experienced unusually warm conditions through the first four months of 2012. Using Lincoln data as a reference, there were 30 days where the maximum temperature reached at least 70°F, 14 days at or above 80°F, and 3 days of 90°F or higher temperatures. Using historical climate data from 1895 to the presen for the same period, we usually have 14.5 days of 70°F, 4.1 days of 80°F, and 0.5 days of 90°F.
  • Looking through the climate records from 1895 to the present, Lincoln has only exceeded this year's count of thirty 70°F days twice, in 1910 (39 days) and in 1946 (32 days). The number of 80°F days this year ties the historical record of 14 set in 1910, with the second closest year being 1987 with 11 days. The greatest number of 90°F days experienced at Lincoln during the first four months of the year occurred in 1989 with six. This year ranks second in all time, tying 1987 and 1990.
  • It should be pointed out that the remainder of Nebraska has experienced similar conditions when comparing the number of days when air temperatures have reached or exceeded 70°F, 80°F, or 90°F. Cursory examination of other large cities within the state mirror the trend experienced in Lincoln. That is, the number of 70°F, 80°F, and 90°F days through the end of April ranks in the top five since 1895, with most locations ranking between first and third.

Al Dutcher
Nebraska State Climatologist