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Prepared by Florida Climate Center
The Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

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Key Points:

  • Monthly average temperatures in April were near to above normal across the state; several locations in central and south Florida observed one of their top five warmest Aprils on record.
  • Moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought conditions are impacting much of the southern Peninsula as of the end of April; however, drought removal is forecasted for most of this region by the end of May.
  • During the first week of March, moderate drought (D1) impacted much of Florida, including the Panhandle and western Peninsula, with severe drought (D2) emerging in Dixie and Levy counties. By the end of March, drought had improved across the Panhandle and Big Bend regions as rainfall returned, but much of south Florida continues to experience moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions.
  • La Niña conditions are favored to continue through fall, with a 59% chance of La Niña continuing through summer (June-August) and a 50-55% chance through fall.

 

Average temperatures in April were near to above normal across the state Average temperature departures from normal ranged from +0.1 ̊F in Jacksonville to +3.0 ̊F in Tampa for the month (see Table 1 and Appendix 1 for select cities). Many places in central and southern Florida recorded one of their top 5 warmest Aprils on record, including Tampa (3rd-warmest), Homestead (3rd-warmest), Perrine (4th-warmest), Orlando (5th-warmest), and Miami (5th-warmest). Several daily high maximum and high minimum temperature records were tied or broken throughout the month (see appendices 2 and 3).

Table 1.  April average temperatures and departures from normal ( ̊F) for selected cities.

Station Mean Temperature Departure from Normal
Pensacola 70.5 +2.2
Tallahassee 68.0 +0.7
Jacksonville 68.2 +0.1
Orlando 74.6 +2.4
Tampa 76.9 +3.0
Miami 78.6 +1.9
Key West 78.4 +0.5 

 

Rainfall totals in April were mixed, with the Panhandle and Big Bend regions receiving below normal precipitation and much of eastern and central Florida above normal. The monthly precipitation departures from normal ranged from -1.49 inches in Pensacola to +4.21 inches in Tampa (Table 2 and Appendix 1). Year-to-date rainfall deficits exist for many locations, including Pensacola with 5.54 inches below normal to date, Venice with 5 inches of deficit to date, and Vero Beach at 4.4 inches in deficit to date. Due to persistent dry conditions, moderate to severe drought continues to impact much of the southern Peninsula as of the end of April (see below).

Table 2. April precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.

Station Total Rainfall Departure from Normal
Pensacola 4.03 -1.49
Tallahassee 2.43 -1.10
Jacksonville 5.22 +2.29
Orlando 5.20 +2.62
Tampa 6.76 +4.21
Miami 4.66 +1.30
Key West 2.54 +0.47 

 

Figure 1. A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for April (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).

Figure 1.  A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for April (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).

 

La Niña Advisory.

La Niña, the cool phase of the ENSO climate pattern, is favored to continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer (59% chance during June-August), with a 50-55% chance of La Niña continuing through the fall. In early April, all of the Niño index regions were between -0.7°C and -1.1°C. Additionally, the coupled ocean-atmosphere system reflects the continuation of La Niña, though there is still much uncertainty given the combined 45-50% chance for ENSO-neutral or El Niño in the July-September period onwards.

 

Hazardous Weather Events in April.

According to the Local Storm Reports issued by the local National Weather Service offices serving Florida, there were 392 individual local reports of hazardous weather events recorded across the state during the month of April (see Table 4 for a breakdown by event type). April saw a lot of thunderstorm activity with strong wind gusts (up to 78 mph in Palm Beach on the 6th), and hail up to 2 inches in diameter (reported in St. Johns County on the 17th). Several Mesonet and CoCoRaHS stations recorded over 5 inches and as much as 6.83 inches of rain on the 7th in Nassau County. There were two fatalities due to rip currents during the month, one in Daytona Beach and one in Mayport.

 

Table 4. Breakdown of storm reports submitted in Florida during the month of April (compiled from Iowa State University/Iowa Environmental Mesonet).

Report Type Number of Reports
Flash Flood 1
Heavy Rain 20
Flood 9
Hail 76
Lightning 4
Marine Thunderstorm Wind 39
Non-Thunderstorm Wind Gust 77
Non-Thunderstorm Wind Damage 3
Tornado/Waterspout/Funnel Cloud 5/6/10
Thunderstorm Wind Damage 41
Thunderstorm Wind Gust 95
Wildfire 4

 

Drought-Related Impacts.

At the beginning of April, nearly 1% of the state was in severe drought (D2), about 21% was in moderate drought (D1), and another 21% was abnormally dry (D0), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As of April 26th, 5% of the state was in severe drought (D2), 19% was in moderate drought (D1), and 9% had abnormally dry conditions. Drought was concentrated in the southern Peninsula (Figure 2).

As of April 30, the Lake Okeechobee water level was 12.96 ft. above sea level (Feet-NGVD29), which is below average for this time of the year. The water level continued to decline throughout the month but remained well above the water shortage management threshold. At the first of the month, the water level was around 13.77 ft. above sea level.

 

drought monitor

 

Agriculture-Related Impacts.

During mid-April, topsoil moisture conditions were adequate in 64% of the state, short in 23%, and very short in 5% of the state; 8% of the state had a surplus. By the end of April, topsoil moisture declined slightly with levels adequate in 60% of the state, short in 32%, and very short in 5% of the state, while 3% of the state was in surplus. For more information, consult the Crop Progress and Conditions report, which is published by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

 

Appendix 1
Additional April departures from normal data for select Florida locations (Source: NWS).

Station Average Temperature (˚F) Departure from Normal (˚F) Total Rainfall (in.) Departure from Normal (in.)
Gainesville 69.4 +0.9 1.61 -1.13
Sarasota 74.5 +1.9 1.97 -0.49
Melbourne 73.3 +0.2 5.82 +3.53
Fort Myers 77.5 +2.7 5.83 +3.39
West Palm Beach 77.1 +2.2 6.40 +2.72

 

Appendix 2
Select daily record high maximum temperatures broken or tied during April (compiled from NOAA).

Location Date Record (˚F) Broken/Tied Last
Key West 1 90 Broken 88 in 2011
Fort Myers 4 90 Tied 90 in 2017
Bradenton 5 89 Broken 88 in 1999
Pensacola 5 80 Broken 79 in 2009
Key West 5 90 Broken 87 in 1977
Orlando 6 93 Broken 90 in 1956
Vero Beach 6 92 Broken 91 in 2012
Key West 6 90 Broken 88 in 2009
Orlando 6 91 Broken 89 in 1956
Crestview 6 86 Broken 85 in 2006
Clermont 7 92 Broken 91 in 2019
Fort Lauderdale 7 91 Broken 90 in 2009
Kissimmee 7 91 Broken 89 in 2019
Perrine 7 90 Broken 89 in 2017
West Palm Beach 7 90 Tied 90 in 2018
Key West 7 90 Broken 87 in 2020
Hialeah 8 92 Broken 90 in 1998
Stuart 8 91 Tied 91 in 2018
Lakeland 11 92 Broken 91 in 1965
Key West 14 90 Broken 89 in 2020
Bradenton 17 90 Broken 88 in 1994
Canal Point 17 95 Broken 91 in 1972
Clermont 17 90 Tied 90 in 1967
Lakeland 17 91 Broken 90 in 1995
Clermont 18 93 Broken 91 in 1968
Cross City 18 90 Broken 89 in 1970
Tampa 18 91 Broken 89 in 2013
Key West 18 90 Broken 89 in 2020
Fort Myers 19 93 Tied 93 in 1972
Tampa 24 90 Tied 90 in 2002
Key West 30 89 Broken 88 in 2020

 

Appendix 3
Select daily record high minimum temperatures broken or tied during April (compiled from NOAA).

Location Date Record (˚F) Broken/Tied Last
Bartow 1 71 Broken 70 in 1998
Fort Lauderdale Beach 1 77 Broken 75 in 2016
Tampa 1 71 Broken 70 in 1998
Venice 1 75 Broken 72 in 1973
Fort Myers 1 74 Broken 72 in 1998
West Palm Beach 1 76 Tied 76 in 2016
Key West 1 81 Broken 78 in 1975
Kissimmee 2 71 Broken 70 in 1970
Key West 2 82 Broken 78 in 2016
Key West 4 80 Broken 79 in 1973
Key West 5 82 Broken 78 in 2008
Bradenton 6 74 Broken 69 in 1982
Fort Lauderdale 6 76 Broken 75 in 2017
Lisbon 6 69 Broken 68 in 1969
Perrine 6 71 Broken 70 in 2009
Tarpon Springs 6 75 Broken 74 in 1982
Titusville 6 72 Broken 70 in 1958
Venice 6 76 Broken 70 in 1958
Miles City 6 69 Broken 68 in 2020
Ochopee 6 72 Broken 69 in 2020
Gainesville 6 73 Broken 66 in 1999
Key West 6 79 Broken 78 in 1982
Miami 6 78 Broken 75 in 2003
Orlando 6 74 Broken 72 in 1933
Tampa 6 77 Broken 70 in 1991
Key West 6 82 Broken 77 in 2020
Pensacola 6 74 Broken 70 in 1954
Cross City 7 74 Broken 67 in 1964
Fort Lauderdale 7 77 Broken 74 in 2003
Glen St. Mary 7 70 Broken 65 in 1999
Jacksonville Beach 7 74 Broken 71 in 1956
Lake City 7 70 Broken 67 in 1956
Lisbon 7 72 Broken 70 in 1964
Melbourne 7 73 Broken 71 in 1954
Perry 7 75 Broken 68 in 2003
Sanford 7 76 Broken 70 in 1997
Usher Tower 7 74 Broken 69 in 2003
Miami 7 78 Broken 76 in 2020
Key West 7 81 Broken 78 in 1973
Key West 16 80 Broken 79 in 2020
Jacksonville Beach 17 73 Broken 70 in 1982
Usher Tower 17 67 Broken 66 in 2015
Jacksonville Beach 18 76 Broken 70 in 2020
Daytona Beach 18 71 Broken 70 in 2020
Key West 18 80 Broken 79 in 2020
Fort Lauderdale 22 75 Broken 74 in 2018
Naples 28 76 Broken 73 in 1960
Naples 29 75 Broken 73 in 2017
Key West 29 80 Broken 79 in 1991
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Tallahassee, FL 32306-2741
Phone: (850) 644-3417 | (850) 644-0719
climate@coaps.fsu.edu

© Florida Climate Center
Florida Climate Center