April is finally here! After a turbulent end to March, will this trend continue as we start heading into the peak of severe weather season? Here’s a look at the current temperature and precipitation outlooks for the 4th month of 2022!

Temperature Outlook

The latest observations and model guidance are calling for a relatively warm April across the southern Plains, southeastern U.S., and up into New England. The highest chance for above-average warmth this month is across the southern Plains in Texas and New Mexico. Southern Florida also has a bit higher chance for above-average temperatures in April compared to the rest of the Lower 48.

The overall pattern favors warm temperatures across the Gulf Coast, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions, but confidence is not as high. This is due to the lack of confidence in the exact positioning of upper-level ridging (high pressure) and troughing (low pressure).

Northwest Arkansas and River Valley are favored to see overall above-average temperatures in April. The cooler-than-average weather is expected to stay in the Pacific Northwest near Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.

Precipitation Outlook

April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, the overall pattern for April is expected to bring more showery weather than normal to parts of the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest.

The expected Jet Stream pattern this month favors a drier than normal April for Desert Southwest and Southern Plains.

Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley are in the neutral zone between the above-average and below-average precipitation areas. This means we have an equal chance to see above-average precipitation or below-average precipitation throughout the month.

April 2022 Climatology

Northwest Arkansas

To know if we are above or below average, you need to know what average is. In Fayetteville, our average high at the beginning of April is 66°F. Throughout the month, it increases by 7°F and becomes 73°F by April 30. At night, our average daily low temperature remains in the 40s throughout April, but increases from 40°F to 49°F.

In terms of sunshine, Fayetteville & Northwest Arkansas sees the return of before 7 A.M. sunrises this month! The sun greets us at 7:03 A.M. on April 1st but says good morning 38 minutes earlier by the end of the month at 6:25 A.M. In the evenings, 8 P.M. sunsets will return at the end of the month. Sunset at the start of April is 7:39 P.M., but becomes 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 26! We will gain a few more minutes of daylight by April 30 with the final sunset of the month occurring at 8:03 P.M CDT. Overall, Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas will gain 62 minutes of daylight this month.

Mother Nature turns on the faucet in April! In a typical year, our monthly rainfall in April is just over 5″ at Drake Field in Fayetteville, AR. Believe it or not, April is not the rainiest month of the year for Fayetteville. That award goes to the following month, May. April is also the first month of the year with no snowfall on average.

River Valley

Temperatures continue to increase in Fort Smith and the River Valley too! At Fort Smith Regional Airport, our average daily high temperature will move from the low 70s to the upper 70s between April 1 and April 30. Our average daily low temperatures increase by 8°F, moving April 1st’s average low of 46°F to 54°F on April 30.

Just like Northwest Arkansas, the sun will rise above the horizon before 7 A.M. once again this month. We start off April with the official sunrise being at 7:04 A.M. but it moves to 6:27 A.M. by April 30th, 37 minutes earlier. In the evening, our sunsets will occur 24 minutes later between April 1st and April 30th. Just like Fayetteville, Fort Smith will see its first 8 P.M. sunset on Tuesday, April 26. In total, Fort Smith and the River Valley will gain 61 minutes of daylight, just 1 minute less compared to Northwest Arkansas. This is due to the 23.5° tilt of the Earth on its axis.

For rainfall, Fort Smith also receives a healthy amount of precipitation in April. Just under 5″ for the monthly average, April is the 2nd rainiest month for Fort Smith as well. Similar to Fayetteville, Fort Smith does not receive any snow in April on average.

1981-2010 Climate Normals vs. 1991-2020 Climate Normals

Earlier last year, the National Weather Service updated the statistics used to calculate climate normals for a location. Generally, this happens on years that end with a 1 (example: 2001, 2011, 2021, etc.).

Why every 10 years? Updating the numbers every year could lead to skewed data, especially if the site is only a few years old. By doing updates every 10 years, it ensures the value is more representative of the site’s actual climate instead of being potentially altered drastically by a single historical event.

So, what’s changed with the most recent update for April? Let’s find out!

Northwest Arkansas

The new climatology numbers for Fayetteville, Arkansas show a slight change in average temperatures and an increase in rainfall. The new 30-year climate normals for Fayetteville increase the average daily high temperature for the start of April by 1°F. We end the month with the same average daily high as before, 73°F. For average daily low temperatures, the recent climate normal update did not change any values for the start or end of April.

In terms of precipitation, the most recent update puts our monthly rainfall just above 5″. This is an increase of 0.44″ compared to the 1981 – 2010 averages.

River Valley

For Fort Smith, the recent update to the 30-Year climate normals increased the average daily high at the beginning and end of the month by 1°F. The average daily low temperature increased by 1°F on April 1st but remains unchanged for April 30.

The monthly average precipitation value in Fort Smith increased by over 0.50″ in the latest update. Unlike Fayetteville, Fort Smith remains below the 5-inch mark with the new climate normal updates. The new 1991 – 2020 30-year climate averages put Fort Smith’s monthly rainfall at 4.87″.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Remember, this is an overall look at the pattern for April 2022. The daily/weekly variations in the forecast may not follow the outlooks exactly. Be sure to stay up to date with your Weather Authority team on all the forecast details on-air, online, and on social media!