This really was a very wet spring in Pennsylvania

In a recent column, I said that this has been the wettest spring
I can remember in Pennsylvania, especially in the northern tier.
Turns out I am not imagining it.

Pennsylvania was one of six states — Illinois, Indiana, Ohio,
Kentucky and West Virginia were the others — that set records for
the wettest April since 1895. Parts of the PA, such as Elk County,
recorded about twice as much rain as those areas normally get.

If you pay attention to the national news, you know April was an
historic month for wild weather in the United States — and it
wasn’t just the killer tornado outbreak that set records, according
to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. April included an odd mix of downpours, droughts
and wildfires.

But while it was soggy in the Keystone State, the country also
had the most acres burned by wildfire during April since 2000,
according to the Associated Press. Nearly 95 percent of Texas is
experiencing a severe drought. The Lone Star State had one of its
driest Aprils ever.

Nationally, this April brought the most tornadoes ever, 875,
with a record 305 tornadoes from April 25-28. Those killed more
than 300 people and caused massive destruction.

Much of the southern and eastern United States were near record
hot for April, the Associated Press reported, while northwestern
states were cooler than normal. Overall, the month was warmer than
normal for the nation, but not record-setting.

The odd mix of massive April showers and bone-dry drought can be
blamed on the cooling of the central Pacific Ocean, which causes
storm tracks to lock in along certain paths, explained an official
in NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

He said the weather pattern is very consistent with La Nina,
which is a shift of the jet stream, providing all that moisture and
shifting it away from the south.

Scientists looked for indications global warming is causing the
weather phenomena, but they couldn’t show a correlation. Climate
models say that because of changes in instability and water vapor,
severe thunderstorms and maybe tornadoes should increase in the

But it may take another 30 years for the predicted slow increase
to be statistically noticeable, said a NOAA research meteorologist
and tornado expert. But the climate analysis chief at the National
Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Col., argued that there
is evidence of an increase in instability in the atmosphere
happening now.

Stay tuned.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Jeff Mulhollem

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