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Recap of April 2018 Weather for the 30-county NWS Hastings Coverage Area: 

April 2018 Precipitation

- Precipitation: Although snow was more common than usual during April, unfortunately, rainfall was not, as much of the area continued at least a two-month stretch of below normal precipitation (at southern locations such as Smith Center KS, April was actually the SEVENTH-straight month below normal!). Getting into more specifics, the majority of the 30-county area only received between 25-70% of normal April precipitation, or generally between 0.80-1.80". Per dozens of NWS/CoCoRaHS observers, a few of the lowest April totals featured: 0.62" at Bradshaw, 0.64" near Shelby, 0.68" at Geneva and 0.74" near Waco and at Natoma KS. On the wetter side of things (but still below normal), a few of the highest totals included: 2.03" at Kearney, 1.93" at Holdrege, 1.91" in Minden and 1.77" at Wilsonville and Dannebrog. 

- Snowfall/Winter Precipitation: Snowfall was more abundant than usual across much of the area. Per official NWS observers, some of the highest April snow totals featured: 10.1" at Ord, 10.0" at Miller and near Arcadia, and 9.7" at Kearney and Minden. In addition to a few "pesky" minor events, there were two more significant winter storms during the month: 
1) Right away on the 1st (Easter Sunday), much of the Nebraska coverage area received at least a light dusting up to around 2". However, a roughly 15-25 mile wide, west-to-east swath extending along a line centered from around Elwood-Minden-southern Adams County-southern Fillmore/northern Thayer counties picked up heavier amounts mainly 4-8" range, but with unofficial totals as high as 9-11" in the Bruning, Belvidere and Carleton area.
2)  A major, late-winter storm took aim on the region from the late evening of the 13th into much of the 14th. While snowfall totals fell short of forecasted expectations in several counties, most places generally west of a line from Greeley-Minden received at least 2-5", with very strong north winds promoting blizzard conditions at times. Even those areas that received minimal snow (such as Grand Island/Hastings and points east-southeast), steady freezing drizzle/rain early in the event left a widespread ice coating of at least a few tenths of an inch (locally more than this, especially on elevated surfaces). The combination of ice, snow and strong winds brought down numerous power poles (especially in the Valley/Sherman/Greeley/Howard County area). In fact, one veteran employee of the Howard Greeley Rural Public Power District said this storm downed more poles than any other in his career!  

Temperatures: April was simply downright-cold overall, and in fact one of the coldest on record (THE coldest in some places)! For most of the 30-county area, the month as a whole averaged 7-9º below normal, and if not for a noticeable warm-up during the final few days it would have been even colder. At Grand Island and Hastings airports, this was officially the 2nd-coldest April on record, trailing only April 1920 for the top spot. For several NWS cooperative observer stations, it was in fact THE COLDEST April on record, including: Greeley, Osceola, York, Minden, Clay Center, Hebron, Smith Center KS and Beloit KS. As would typically be expected, the first week was the overall-coldest. In fact, Grand Island only saw highs in the 30s on five of the first seven days! It remained colder-than-average through the following few weeks, before a pronounced warm-up finally arrived late in the month, mainly from the 27th-30th, during which highs in the 70s and 80s were common.  As for monthly extremes per official NWS observers/stations, some of the warmest readings (date in parentheses) featured: 90º near Alton KS (12th), 87º at Lexington airport (30th), 86º near Plainville KS (12th) and 85º at Beloit KS (12th). On the opposite end of the thermometer, most of the coldest April lows occurred on the 7th, featuring: 1º at Beaver City, 2º at Cambridge and Ord, and 3º at Greeley and near Oxford. 

Severe Thunderstorms/High Wind Events:  This was an incredibly QUIET month in terms of severe thunderstorms. In fact, the only local Severe Thunderstorm Warning of the entire month was not issued until the evening of the 30th, when a storm that affected mainly the northwest half of Valley County produced a considerable amount of small hail, and one report of quarter-size stones eight miles WSW of Elyria. 

It was certainly a more active month in terms of non-thunderstorm high winds, with three days producing widespread gusts of 50-60+ MPH across much of the area. First, a powerful late-winter storm produced very strong northerly winds on the 14th. One of the highest official gusts was 64 MPH at Ord airport. The combination of ice accrual and strong winds downed a 300+ ft. communications tower north of Ord. Then, the last two days of the month (29th-30th) featured very strong south winds, in response to a powerful low pressure system approaching from the west. On both of these days, gusts of 50-60 MPH were common area-wide. The combination of these winds along with dry and recently-tilled soil resulted in areas of blowing dirt, more severe than usually observed in this portion of Nebraska and Kansas. Unfortunately, these localized "dust storms" caused several traffic accidents on both days, especially on Interstate 80, where a major pileup of nearly 30 vehicles near Aurora resulted in one fatality on the afternoon of the 29th. 

2018 Nebraska Cooperative Observer Precipitation Tables (around 45 sites)
2018 Kansas Cooperative Observer Precipitation Tables (around 18 sites)
(for the 2018 tables, data for the previous month usually gets updated by around the 15th of the current month)

2017 Nebraska Cooperative Observer Precipitation Tables (around 45 sites)
2017 Kansas Cooperative Observer Precipitation Tables (around 18 sites)

Archived Precipitation Tables And Monthly Climate Stories

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