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‘Near-average’ April was marked by deadliest tornado outbreak in 6 years

May 6, 2020
NOAA meteorologists took this photo of a home in Oneanota, Alabama, that was destroyed by a deadly tornado outbreak that tore across the U.S. South and Southeast on April 12-13, 2020. It was the deadliest outbreak since 2014 and one of several in April 2020.

April 2020 saw relatively normal temperatures and precipitation across the U.S., the first slightly-cooler-than-average month since November 2019, according to scientists from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.

It was anything but an average month for severe weather: Hundreds of tornadoes raked the nation, including an outbreak of more than 140 tornadoes on April 12 and 13 that wrought a path of destruction from Texas to Maryland, killing more than 30 people. It was the deadliest tornado outbreak since April 2014.

Climate by the numbers

April 2020

The average April temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 50.9 degrees F (0.2 of a degree below average), which ranked in the middle third of the 126-year period of record. The month saw above-average warmth along the West Coast, Southwest and Gulf Coast. Florida had its sixth-warmest April on record.

The average precipitation for the month was 2.47 inches (0.05 of an inch below average), which ranked in the middle-third of the record. Record-breaking dryness was observed in parts of the Southwest and Mid-Mississippi Valley.

Year to date | January through April

The average U.S. temperature for the year to date (January through April, YTD) was 42.2 degrees F (3.0 degrees above average), ranking 10th-warmest in the climate record. Average precipitation for the YTD totaled 10.53 inches (1.06 inches above normal), which ranked in the wettest-third of the climate record.  

An annotated map of the United States showing notable climate and weather events that occurred across the country during April 2020. For details, please visit http://bit.ly/USClimate202004.
An annotated map of the United States showing notable climate and weather events that occurred across the country during April 2020. For details, please visit http://bit.ly/USClimate202004.

Other notable climate events in April

  • Alaska set a record low: Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska, had a record-low temperature of -20 degrees F on April 29. This was the first record low in more than 12 years and the latest in the season where a temperature of -20 degrees or colder has occurred. 

  • And, Colorado had record snow: By month’s end, Boulder, Colorado, recorded 152 inches of snow for the season. This breaks the city’s seasonal record of 143.2 inches set back in 1909.

More > Access NOAA’s latest climate report and download the images.

Media contact

John Bateman, (301) 713-9604