The drought fades, but so does our recent warmth

Local News

T.S. Eliot is famous for penning many a poem in his time. In his work entitled “The Waste Land”, he began with a line that rings true to many a Rochesterian.

“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing, memory and desire stirring, dull roots with spring rain.”

Just one glance at the month of April, from a meteorological standpoint, certainly fits the emotion evoked by Eliot. From snow to near record warmth and even a record daily rainfall we’ve really seen some big swings in the weather here in Rochester as of late.

April started with a wet, wind whipped snowfall, mixed with graupel, that came in waves off of Lake Ontario on the 1st. Truly “foolish”. The snowfall measured at the airport amounted to one inch, which by April standards isn’t all that much (the average April snowfall in Rochester is actually 4 inches!), but it was enough to certainly cause many to take notice, and frankly, to irritate and frustrate.

That said, the way this wintry throwback showed up is the way it left us: swiftly! Temperatures recorded at the Fredrick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport since April 4th have all been consistently above average. In fact, not only have they been above the average, they have been WAY above the average by a solid 15 to 20 degrees climaxing with Saturday’s high of 79 degrees, which was just one degree shy of the record high for the date.

All of this can create the illusion that winter is over and done with completely. It’s very easy to arrive at this conclusion when the thermometer flirts with 80 degrees! Then, we saw the record rainfall on Sunday. That 1.18″ which fell in Rochester was also the heaviest rainfall we’ve seen in months creating the impression we were indeed turning the proverbial page.

This is where we again have to cue up T.S. Eliot and talk about that crueler side to April that will show up. To find the source of that crueler side, we look north. Note the cooler blue and purple colors that stretch from near the Arctic Circle. This represents the colder air now making moves south into the northern Plains states. This is the same arctic air mass that had Alaskans in the deep freeze. In fact, it was the most anomalous cold spell they had seen since May 2013.

It’s this air mass, as it descends south into the continental U.S., that will cause some “meteorological mischief” allowing for a sizable dip in the jet and a storm to spin up close to the New England coast by Thursday of this week. That mischief I mentioned will mean an area wide rain developing from Rochester points east. That mischief will also include some “cruelty” too, potentially, in the form of some wet snow in the higher terrain of the Catskills, Poconos, eastern New York, and even western New England. There’s even a chance that the high terrain of the eastern Finger Lakes sees a few fleeting wet snowflakes.

Oh, and there’s more cooler than normal air possibly coming down the pipeline as we move into the third week of April. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!

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