With five record warm months since July, experiencing a comfortable, albeit slightly warm, April was a relief. Overall, April was a dry month, which partly explains why Prosser’s high temperatures were somewhat above normal. Low temperatures were near to slightly below normal.
The relative lack of clouds and moisture allowed for sunnier and warmer days, yet cool and stable nights. In fact, the mean low in April was slightly lower than it was in March; this says more about the warmth of March, rather than the chill of April. Moxee, Wash., experienced a precipitation-free April.
“It was beneficial to have a month within a normal temperature range,” said AgWeatherNet meteorologist Nic Loyd. “It would have been nice to have a cool, wet month that brought consistent snow to the mountains, but at least April was far from another record warm month like February and March.”
A Web-based, publicly available system, AgWeatherNet (http://weather.wsu.edu/awn.php) provides access to near real-time weather data and value-added products from WSU’s statewide weather network, along with decision aids for agricultural producers and other users. It is based at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser.
Temperatures were even below normal on some days last month. Highs were in the 40s around Walla Walla on the fifth, while Broadview (near Ellensburg) fell to a low of 20 degrees. Frontal passages on April 10-11 and 13-14 brought rain, mountain snow, wind and cool temperatures to the state.
Eight-tenths of an inch of rain fell in some coastal areas on April 10, and the mean daily wind speed was 20 mph at St. John on the 11th. At Long Beach on the 13th, 1.11 inches of rain fell and winds were strong and gusty the next day.
The state still experienced several warm days later in the month. The temperature on April 20 reached 83 degrees at Azwell, in north central Washington.
Overall, conditions were highly variable around month’s end. Ritzville dropped to 22 degrees on the 26th, Garfield East reached a high of only 47 degrees on the 25th, and yet Vancouver was 81 degrees on April 27 and Benton City climbed to 86 degrees on April 28.
“We have had concerns for some time about drought conditions in Washington,” said Gerrit Hoogenboom, AgWeatherNet director. “Effective water utilization will be critical this summer, and we encourage folks to monitor our new monthly drought reports.”