T.S. Eliot wrote this famous quote in his 1922 poem, “The Waste Land:”
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Indeed, April can be a frustrating month. Often filled with days of showers, clouds, and cool weather, it’s a slow march toward consistently warm weather. In past years, Aprils have seen temperatures as hot as 94 degrees (think back to 1976) and as chilly as 11 degrees (but that was a long time ago, 1874). More recently, in 2016 readings fell to the lower 20s. In that same year, half a foot of snow fell, but it’s nothing compared to the big blizzard back in 1997, which ranks as the granddaddy of them all for the month of April.
Usually, snowfall is minimal this month with many years seeing nothing more than a trace of snow. I suspect this year will be no different.
In terms of rainfall, we average about 3.6 inches of precipitation and usually April is not a dry month. Sixteen years have seen over 6 inches of rain, and there’s a couple of years in the record books topping 9 inches. Let’s hope we don’t have anything like that this year.
One thing I can predict is the amount of daylight. The good news is we continue to increase rapidly, and we’ll gain 78 minutes of daylight by the end of this month. As we close out April, the sun will be setting at about 7:45 p.m. and coming up just after 5:30 a.m. The birds will probably wake you a lot earlier than that as they really become very noisy throughout this month prior to sunrise.
The National Weather Service puts out a monthly outlook, and this year for April it has New England close to equal chances of either above or below average temperatures. When we see this type of prediction, it usually means that there won’t be any extended extreme cold or extreme warmth for the month; rather, it will end up fairly close to average.
We see a similar type of prediction for precipitation with a strong likelihood of neither above or below average rainfall. Again, looking at this pattern it would indicate generally a typical month of precipitation: remember, that’s about 3.6 inches.
Meteorologically, the month of April brings warmer temperatures and further signs of spring and even perhaps a taste of summer. This year we will be spending much of that time close to home. With all the unsurenesss lying ahead, try to take some time to appreciate the season. The grass will continue to green, flowers will come into bloom, birds will start their families, and daylight expands. While we need to continue to remain physically distant from each other, at least we can do it with better weather ahead.
Follow Dave Epstein @growingwisdom.