Spring 2015 smashes records

Monday, June 15, 2015


Associate Editor

Meteorological spring (March, April and May) was warmer and wetter than a year ago.

Figures in the graphics are based on observations at the Poplar Bluff Municipal Airport by the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky.

Farmers were delayed in getting their crops planted due to approximately 20 inches of precipitation.

"We are only half done with planting beans," said John French, who farms near Neelyville.

Every day farmers are delayed in planting beans reduces the yield potential. They are working long days to get as many fields planted as possible before more rain comes.

"We only had nine days between the showers to work the ground so we could get the rice planted," French said. "Usually we have a month."

NWS personnel reported 19.44 inches at the airport while the coop observer at Vine and 11th streets tallied 20.93 inches.

"This was the third wettest spring during the 18 years of data at the airport," said Olivia Kellner, a climatologist with the Midwestern Regional Climate Center in Champaign, Ill.

She noted this was the highest amount since a record 33.10 inches fell in 2011 and caused extensive flooding. The second highest was 21.95 inches in 2000.

Records at this location have been kept since 1893, but several years are incomplete.

"This was the 11th wettest spring in Poplar Bluff in more than 100 years of available records and it tied with 1961," Kellner said.

The NWS recorded 8.44 inches in March at the airport (4.09 above normal), 4.64 in April (.02 below normal) and 6.36 in May (2.17 above normal).

"During the past 18 years, this was the second wettest March, fourth wettest May and ninth wettest April," Kellner said.

The coop observer reported 6.72 inches in March, 4.52 in April and 9.69 in May.

"Based on available records since 1893, this was the 7th wettest May, 20th wettest March and 42nd wettest April." Kellner said.

For the first five months of 2015, the airport received 29.53 inches of precipitation, which is 9.3 inches above normal. This year's total is 10.37 inches ahead of the 19.16 inches that fell during the first five months of 2014.

The average spring temperature this year was 58.2 degrees at the airport and 60.4 at the coop station.

Using NWS records, the coolest spring during the past 18 years was in 2013 with an average temperature of 56.6 degrees. In second place is 2014 with 57.2 degrees.

The warmest spring was 65.9 degrees in 2012 -- the hottest year ever in Poplar Bluff.

There were 18 spring days when the temperature hit 80 or above compared to 43 in 2012.

Spring days with below normal temperatures totaled 37 in 2015, but there were only 14 in 2012.

While this spring was warmer than a year ago, there were some cool days when records were set.

There were record cold temperatures on at least four days during the past 18 years at the airport.

The low of 9 degrees on March 6 followed 9.5 inches of snow.

"It smashed the previous record of 24 set a year earlier," Kellner said.

The high of 31 degrees on March 6 broke the record of 39 set in 2008, according to Kellner.

Records for minimum high temperatures were set on May 20 and 21.

"The high of 60 degrees on May 20 broke the previous record of 64 in 2000," Kellner said. "The high of 61 degrees on May 21 erased the previous mark of 65 in 2002."

Cool temperatures on at least three other days nearly broke airport records.

"The low of 41 degrees on May 1 was the second coldest. The record is 37 in 2005," Kellner said.

She also noted the high of 57 degrees on April 24 was the second coldest behind 56 in 2000.

Kellner said the low of 35 on April 5 was the fourth coldest. The record of 30 was set in 2002.

While checking the coop observer's data, she determined the low of 36 on April 5 tied for the 10 coldest with 2011, 1977, 1973, 1949 and 1900.

The low of 44 on May 1 was the 11th coldest and tied 1997, 1992, 1988 and 1927, according to Kellner.

She also said the high of 59 on May 21 is a new minimum high record, breaking the previous mark of 63 which was set in 2000, 1919 and 1894.

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