April precipitation is anyone's guess, but don't count out snow

NOW: April precipitation is anyone’s guess, but don’t count out snow

After below normal precipitation in February and March across Michiana, there isn’t a lot of clarity on what to expect during the month of April in terms of rain and/or snow.

With our recent rounds of overnight rain, South Bend is up to 1.25 inches of rain so far in April 2020. As of April 7th, that rainfall amount is running ahead of schedule.

The Climate Prediction Center puts out monthly precipitation outlooks as well as forecasts for 6-10 days out, 8-14 days out, and for weeks 3 and 4 from a particular point in time.

Here’s the good news from a forecasting perspective: as of April 7, every single outlook is in agreement. Below-normal precipitation looks likely to our north and west and above-normal precipitation appears likely to our south and east.

Climate Prediction Center

Climate Prediction Center

Climate Prediction Center

The bad news is as of April 7, Michiana is stuck in the middle with no clear signal in either direction. In the short term, there is a slightly better chance of above-normal precipitation across the area, but confidence is relatively low.

In situations like these, it’s important to know what our climatological normals are for a particular month. A typical April brings South Bend about 3.25 inches of rain. 

Below you can find a list of April precipitation for the last five years in South Bend. The wettest year of the bunch was 2019, when almost 5 inches of rain fell locally during the month of April.

The most April precipitation since 1950 in South Bend occurred in 1999, when the city recorded almost 7.5 inches of rain. 2011 wasn’t far behind, with about 7.25” of rain falling that year.

Still a little more snow to come?

In a typical April, Michiana does pick up a little bit of snowfall. Between 1-2 inches of snow falls every April on average. You can look at the recent normal April snowfall for the region below.

National Weather Service, NOAA

Recently, measurable April snow has been more likely than not across Michiana. South Bend has received measurable snowfall each of the last four years. April 2016 is the recent snowfall winner, with more than 4 inches of snow falling that month in South Bend.

The most April snowfall ever recorded in South Bend (since 1950) occurred in 1982, when we saw 14 inches of snow! More than a foot of snow also fell in April 1961, when South Bend picked up 13.1 inches of snow.

While there may not be a lot of clarity in regards to April precipitation, above-normal precipitation is likely heading into the start of summer.

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