April's Ups and Downs in the Midwest

May 12, 2022 // Article by: Steve Copertino

Indianapolis Area

April 2022 was cooler than normal month (-2.1 degree departure) for the region with precipitation coming in just around normal (4.42”). With the below normal temperatures, snowfall was ever so slightly above normal, as 1" reported at the Indianapolis International. Considering April only typically produces 0.8" on average, it doesn't take much to top average during the month.

April started off rather cool and a bit unsettled, with light rain changing to a mix of rain and snow on the 1st. Temperatures quickly rose behind this system, with highs climbing well into the upper 50s and even into the lower 60s. The next several days were characterized by frequent light rain showers and even a brief period of light snow, along with some sleet on the 8th and into the 9th. However, there was very little in the way of actual accumulation reported form this system.

The middle of the month saw a rather significant warmup as temperatures rose into the mid to upper 60s on the 10th and 13th. Additionally, several rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms pushed through the area, which resulted in some damaging wind reports, mainly to the south of Indianapolis. Conditions then quickly flipped to much cooler weather, with even an unusual late season snowstorm moving in on the 18th. Around 0.5 - 1.5" of snow was reported, with the highest amounts north of the Indianapolis metro area.

Central Indiana rounded out the month with generally warmer than average temperatures starting on the 19th. Highs shot up well into the 70s and eventually into the lower to middle 80s on the 22nd and into the 24th. Warm temperatures continued into the final days of the month as highs remained in the 70s. Showers and some locally strong thunderstorms accompanied this period of warmer weather, with some of the storms producing strong winds and small hail.  



April was cooler than normal and rather dry month across the bulk of the area. Cincinnati had an average temperature of around 52.1 degrees (-2.5 below normal). Columbus had an average temperature of 50.5 degrees (-2.7 degrees). Lastly, Dayton saw an average temperature of 50.8 degrees (-2.9 degrees). All three cities saw precipitation around an inch or so below average.

Virtually every day of the first ten or so days of the month was below normal thanks to persistent cool air locked in across much of the Ohio Valley. In fact, this contributed to several instances of snow and sleet across the region, but very little in the way of actual accumulations. There were even a few reports of graupel (snow pellets) and thunder due to the unusually cold air aloft. However, the first half of the month ended with a rather substantial warming trend as highs rose into the upper 60s and 70s. A few rounds of showers and thunderstorms moved through on the 12th and 13th, with a daily rainfall record set in Dayton of around 1.15".

There was a bit of a cool down on the 14th that lasted through the 16th as a pair of cold fronts moved across the area. The chilly air that followed these fronts contributed to an unusually late season snowstorm on the 18th and into the 19th. Generally, a coating - 1.0" was reported, however, a bit more fell near Dayton with 1 - 2" observed. 

There were several temperature swings during the last week or so of April, which were also accompanied by some rather active weather. Highs rose into the 80s on the 23rd and 24th before a cold front blasted through on the 25th. This front brought a bout of heavy rainfall and locally damaging wind gusts around the Columbus area. Highs then proceeded to fall an impressive 10-15 below normal on the 26th and 27th, which was then followed by a quick rebound to above normal temperatures during the final few days of the month.


Chicago Area

April was generally cooler than normal in the Chicago area, with the average temperature 47.0 degrees for the month (2.7 degrees below normal). Additionally, it was a rather active month in terms of precipitation, with 5.31" of rain falling (1.56" above normal). Snowfall for the month was around half an inch falling (around an inch or so below normal).

Northern Illinois started off the month on a cool note as periods of light snow and snow showers produced some minor accumulation across the area. Another round of snow moved through on the 2nd, with coatings near Chicago Metro and up to 3" northwest to Rockford and the Wisconsin border. Conditions then warmed up quite a bit, with highs reaching into the 50s. However, a cool down followed once again with a weak area of low pressure and light rain/snow showers on the 8th, which marked the 11th consecutive day that Chicago recorded at least a trace of precipitation.

A more pronounced warming trend then began on the 10th and into the 12th when highs rose into the low 70s with increased humidity. Strong winds from a large and impressive area of low pressure brought several reports of damage to the area, with O'Hare and Midway Airports recording a peak gust of 59 mph on the 14th. Temperatures then quickly fell back into the 40s and 50s during the middle of the month.

The end of April featured a battle of two seasons. An usually late season snowstorm moved through the region on the 17th and 18th, with O'Hare seeing 0.2", Elgin, IL receiving 1.8", and Maple Park, IL finishing up with 2.8". Highs then warmed back up to around seasonable levels shortly thereafter, with little in the way of additional precipitation. The month ended with a bang as severe weather brought two separate rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms to the metro area. An EF-0 tornado touched down in Oak Brook, IL along with several reports of large hail and scattered reports of damaging winds.