A Drier, Yet Warmer April in the Midwest

May 12, 2023 // Article by: Shawn McGarrity


The Windy City saw a warmer-than-average April, with the average temperature for the month 51.8°F, 2.1° warmer than normal. Precipitation, on the other hand, fell short of normal for both rainfall and snowfall. Overall precipitation measured 2.02” for the month, short of the typical 3.75”, and only 0.5” of late-season snow fell, compared to the normal 1.3”.

April started off on the cooler side with highs in the upper 40s and a few showers around. Temperatures gradually warmed in the days that followed, reaching the low 70s by the 5th. Several rounds of scattered storms developed on the 3rd and 4th, bringing instances of severe weather to the region. Hail was the main risk with these storms, with parts of northern Illinois reporting up to 2.5” hail. Downpours also produced the wettest day of the month, with O’Hare measuring 0.77”.

Rainfall totals for April 4 - 5th. Courtesy of NWS Chicago. 

Large hail report on April 4th from Oswego, IL. Courtesy of @rdstoll on Twitter.

Following another round of storms on the 5th, temperatures settled back into the 50s, beginning a long stretch of quiet weather. During this span, it gradually warmed back up, topping the 80° mark for four days straight from the 12th to the 15th. For three of these days the daily high reached 83°F, with the 13th breaking its record high (previously 82°) set in both 1887 and 1941.

Unsettled weather returned on the 15th, breaking the unseasonably warm temperatures that had been around. In the matter of two days, highs went from the low 80s to the upper 30s, with 0.4” of snow being measured on the 17th. This was only the second time in Chicago’s history that accumulating snow was observed within two days of highs being in the 80s, the previous instance being in 2014.

24-hr temperature change April 15 - 16th. Courtesy of the Weather Prediction Center.

These winter-like conditions were brief, however, with highs steadily warming over the next few days into the 50s and later the 70s. Some severe storms on the 19th produced golf ball sized hail in spots, with additional storms returning on the 20th. Cooler temperatures returned briefly the 22nd into the 23rd as highs returned to the 40s. Heavier showers on these days managed to produce some snowflakes and ice pellets.

Temperatures remained variable through the remainder of the month, warming to the 60s at times before cooling to the 40s to close out April. Some snow and sleet mixed in the morning of the 25th, then a rainy set up concluded the month, bringing showers 29th - 30th.


April saw near-normal temperatures for the Indianapolis region with the average temperature for the month, 54.2°F, being only 0.6° warmer than normal. Precipitation, however, fell well short of normal for this time of the year, as only 2.29” of the typical 4.34” was measured. Late-season snowfall was also unmeasurable, however, that's not surprising as the normal is only 0.2” in April.

The month started off on the cooler side with a few showers around. Temperatures warmed in the subsequent days, reaching 80°F by the 4th. A few scattered storms returned during this time, with a severe outbreak on the 5th as a line of storms pushed through. A weak EF-0 tornado was reported in eastern Montgomery County during this event. These storms also produced the highest daily rainfall for the month, producing 0.74” of rain.

Damaging wind report in Indianapolis from April 5th event. Courtesy of @BethFinelloWx on Twitter.

A drier stretch followed, continuing into the middle of the month. During this time, seasonable temperatures returned before another warm spell on the 13th and 14th, with highs in the 70s to near 80°. A few showers and storms were around on the 14th and again on the 17th, at which point temperatures returned to normal.

The warmest day of the month was the 20th where highs reached 84°F. Similar to what was seen earlier, this warm period was brief, again returning to the 50s and 60s. Rain on the 21st brought a decent bit of rainfall–about half an inch–with intermittent bouts of unsettled weather throughout the remainder of the month. After a line of storms brought pea-size hail on the 29th, temperatures cooled back to the 50s. Showers and storms on the 30th to closed out the month.


Overall temperatures across the region trended near normal for this time of year, with Columbus and Cincinnati generally ending the month with their average temperatures only a few tenths of a degree warmer / cooler than normal, respectively. Precipitation, on the other hand, fared lower than normal. Columbus recorded 3.17”  (short of the normal 3.85”) and Cincinnati measured 3.78” (normal 4.53”). Late-season snow also fell short of normal, with Columbus having no measurable accumulation (typically recording 0.5”) and Cincinnati didn't see any snowfall (normally 0.4”).

April kicked off active with an overnight severe outbreak carrying into the early morning of April 1st. During this outbreak, an EF-1 tornado was reported in Auglaize County. After the morning storms exited, the first few days of the month were quiet with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, eventually warming to the 70s by the 5th.  A system passed through the region on the 5th, bringing with it a renewed round of severe weather. Heavier rainfall made the day the wettest of the month, with Columbus measuring 0.91” and Cincinnati measuring 1.31”, breaking that day’s record previously set in 1936.

Temperatures cooled down behind the system, returning to the 50s for several days before gradually warming back to the 70s. The area remained dry for a good span of time, with the next round of activity returning mid-month. Showers returned intermittently from the 16th through the 18th as temperatures cooled to the 50s once more, with Columbus even struggling to get out of the 40s on the 17th. 

Like before, this cooler spell was brief and was followed by the warmest period of the month, with temperatures on the 20th reaching their peak with 84° in Columbus and 82° in Cincinnati. A cold front the following day cut this glimpse of summer short, returning the region to the 40s by the 23rd with showers and storms. 

Seasonable weather returned for the remainder of the month as highs settled in the 60s for much of the final week of April. Scattered storms on the 28th brought a couple tenths of an inch of rainfall to both cities, followed by returning rounds of showers that closed out the month.