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April 2012 climate report for Tucson Arizona
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April 2012 climate report for Tucson

10th warmest April on record (tied with 2011 and 1990)
2nd earliest first 100° on record occurs on 22nd
2nd warmest 2nd half of April on record
Most days with highs of 90° or greater since 1989
2nd most occurrences with lows of 60° or greater

The month started off cooler than normal as a weather system moved through the area. Although dry, this system did bring gusty winds to the area on the 1st and 2nd. High pressure built over the area with daytime highs warming into the 80s from the 4th through the 7th than warmed into the lower 90s on the 8th, 9th and 10th. The first 10 days of April 2012 goes into the record books as the 17th warmest on record with an average temperature of 67.2°. This is 2.7° above normal for this time period.


Much cooler temperatures moved into the the area on the 11th (upper 70s) and hung around through the 15th (upper 60s), bottoming out on the 14th (lower 60s) as the only widespread rain event hit the area during the morning hours. The average temperature during this five day period of 59.3° ranks as the 17th coldest on record. The average temperature for April 11th thru 15th is 66.3°. The average high temperature during this period of 71.6° ranks as the 10th coldest on record.


Rapid warm-up began on the 16th and continued into the 18th with high temperature returning the the lower 90s. Strong high pressure built over the desert southwest on the 21st with Tucson flirting the century mark (99°). On the 22nd, the Santa Cruz ice was broken when the airport thermometer hit the magical 100 degree mark for the first time in 2012 at 1:51 pm MST. This is the second earliest occurrence of 100° on record and marks only the 5th time that the first 100° occurred in April. Additional 1st 100 degree information can be found at this link. The historical average 1st 100 degree date in May 26th.


After another day with a triple digit high on the 23rd and highs in the mid 90s on the 24th and 25th, much cooler temperatures moved into the area on the 26th and 27th thanks to a weather system moving across the state. This sytem also brought a few sprinkles and gusty winds to the area. Temperatures returned to above normal to end the month.


The very warm second half of April (15th-30th) goes into the record books as the 2nd warmest on record with an average temperature of 75°, which is 5.8 degrees above normal for this time period. The warmest 2nd half of April on record occurred in 1943 (75.3°).


Temperature extremes for the month ranged from a record high of 101° on the 22nd to a low of 40° on the 15th. The monthly average temperature of 69.8° is 2.8 degrees above normal and ranks as the 10th warmest April on record. Another record high was set on the 23rd (100°). Tucson hit 90° or greater 14 times during April, which is the most since 1989 when 19 days were recorded and ranks as the 3rd most April occurrences on record (tied with 1934). April 1943 recorded 16 occurrences. Since 1895, Tucson hits 90° or greater 5 times during April.


The daily lows were also warm during the 2nd half of the month, with the airport not getting out of the 60s for six straight days (21st-26th), which is the 2nd longest April streak on record behind the 7 days that occurred in 1987 (April 24-30). For the month, the airport recorded eight days with the daily low being 60° or greater, which is the most 2nd most on record, tied with 1981, 1986 and 2007. The April record is 10 days occurring in 1946. The monthly average of lows 60° or greater is 2.

April 2012 daily high temperature departure from normal April 2012 daily low temperature departure from normal
Click on image above for larger view

Rainfall amounts across the metro area for the month, using several sources like, the Pima County Regional Flood Control District gages and CoCoRaHS, ranged from a 0.10" to 0.60". The International airport, which is the official recording location for Tucson, recorded just over a tenth of an inch /0.12"/...which is two-tenths of an inch below normal. This goes into the record books as the 51st driest April on record, tied with 1896 and 1966.

April 2012 stats
Average high temperature
+ 3.4°
Average low temperature
+ 2.0°
Average temperature
+ 2.8°
- 0.19"

Spring 2012 (so far)

Two-thirds of Spring 2012 is in the books and it looks like Tucson is headed for yet another warm Spring. The average temperature so far for Spring 2012 of 65.1° ranks as the 14th warmest on record (tied with 2009). Rainfall across the metro area for Spring 2012 so far ranged from 0.20" to 1.10". Officially, the airport has recorded 0.46" which ranks as the 32nd driest March/April period on record.

Spring 2012 stats (March-April)
Average high temperature
+ 2.9°
Average low temperature
+ 0.1°
Average temperature
+ 1.5°
- 0.58"

Warmest March/April period on record - 69.4° in 1989
Driest March/April period on record - Trace in 1895


The first four months of 2012 goes into the record books as the 7th warmest on record (tied with 1988) with an average temperature of 60.4° which is 1.5 degrees above normal. The average high temperature of 75.5° during the first third of 2012 ranks as the 9th warmest on record. Rainfall across the metro area for 2012 so far ranged from 0.40" to 2.30" with the higher amounts near the mountains. Officially, the airport has recorded 0.68" which ranks as the 8th driest January thru April period (tied with 2002) on record.

2012 stats thru April
Average high temperature
+ 2.8°
Average low temperature
+ 0.1°
Average temperature
+ 1.5°
- 2.16"
2011-12 Water Year rainfall (Oct-Apr)
- 1.51"

Warmest January thru April period on record - 62.2° in 1986
Driest January thru April period on record - 0.01" in 1972

Looking ahead into May
The Climate Prediction Center forecasts enhanced probabilities for above normal temperatures and equal chances for above or below normal rainfall.
  Daily normals | Daily records
Normal monthly high temperature 91.6°
Normal monthly low temperature 60.5°
Normal monthly temperature 76.0°
Record high temperature 111° on May 29, 1910
Record low temperature 32° on May 3, 1899
Warmest May (avg.) 80.2° in 2000
Coldest May (avg.) 64.6° in 1905
Normal rainfall 0.23"
Wettest May day 1.34" on May 15, 1931
Wettest May 1.34" in 1931
Driest May 0.00" in 2011 (last of 23 occurrences)
The number of daylight hours will increase from 13 hours 28 minutes on the 1st to 14 hours 7 minutes on the 31st, a gain of 39 minutes.

US Dept of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Weather Service
Tucson Weather Forecast Office
520 North Park Ave, Suite 304
Tucson, AZ 85719

Tel: (520) 670-6526

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