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Published: Tuesday, 5/1/2012

April chillier than March for 2nd time in city annals

Average temperature at 49.5, 1.4 degrees cooler

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

April may have seemed like a chilly month in Toledo, but it was just an illusion, rooted in the city's record warmth during March.

For only the second time in Toledo's recorded history, April was chillier than March in 2012, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland. Last month's average daily mean temperature — 49.5 degrees — was 1.4 degrees colder than March's average.

The only time that has happened before in Toledo, since record-keeping began in the 1870s, was in 1907, when the March average was 41.8 degrees and April's was 40.7.

The obvious difference between the two years is that 1907's oddity was the result of an abnormally cold April, while this time around, March was unusually warm.

April, 2012, actually was slightly warmer than normal — about three-tenths of a degree warmer.

It only felt cold because March was 13.3 degrees warmer than the norm, beating Toledo's previous record-warmest March by 3.2 degrees. After a March during which the mercury topped 60 degrees on 15 straight days, 70 on nine, and 80 on four, wouldn't an April with just one 80-degree high, and only four other days in the 70s, feel chilly?

It didn't help, either, that the month's second-coldest day was Saturday, just three days before May, when the high was just 45 and some bits of snow mixed in with rain at midday — enough snow to count as a "trace" at Toledo Express Airport.

Tom King, a meteorologist at the Cleveland office, said the turnabout was fairly basic. Unlike in March, when a big high-pressure air mass circulated warm air into the eastern United States for several weeks, April had a low-pressure system in the upper atmosphere over eastern Canada that steered colder air from central Canada into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley while the western United States was warm.

"That's a flip-flop from where we were" in March, when the West was cold, Mr. King said.

Late in March, he added, the Arctic Oscillation wind pattern that supported the Toledo area's record warmth appeared to be breaking down, and that was borne out by what happened in April.

But those upset about the reality that the winter heating season didn't end in mid-March, as it once seemed it might, can take solace in the upcoming weather forecast.

The National Weather Service expects a second straight mid-70s high in Toledo today, and then highs in the 80s for Wednesday through Friday. Thunderstorms are possible each day, forecasters said.

"There's just a hint of a Bermuda high, a summertime pattern that allows warmer air to filter into the Ohio Valley," Mr. King said.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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