When it comes to temperature, April marked the 10th month in a row that’s been warmer than average at Long Island MacArthur Airport.
Previous months have shown some impressive departures — think of March, which was 6.2 degrees warmer, and certainly December at 12.8 degrees above average.
April, though, just squeaked in at a smidge — 0.4 degrees — over the monthly average of 49.1, the National Weather Service’s monthly wrap-up shows. That’s at the airport, where the weather service has maintained records since 1984.
Climatologists say those mild temperatures in the region have been consistent with previous periods that have seen the effects of El Niño, a climate pattern that starts with warming of ocean surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific and can affect weather worldwide.
April came in at near normal, on the heels of “a much warmer than normal winter and early spring,” said Jessica Spaccio, climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University in Ithaca.
Now weakening, El Niño, whose impact is typically felt more in winter months, was certainly a contributor, she said, but is expected to “have a lesser effect on our temperatures as we continue into spring.”
Still, looking ahead, another factor could lead to continued milder than normal months. A lack of precipitation — April alone came in at close to 2 inches below normal — means that dry soil can more easily heat up, in turn warming the air, much “like a burner on a stove,” said Jack Boston, senior long-range meteorologist with AccuWeather.com
The Climate Prediction Center — under the umbrella of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as is the weather service — is showing a 40 percent to 50 percent chance for above-normal conditions for the Northeast, Long Island included, with 58.6 degrees the airport’s normal temperature for May.
For the May-June-July period, make that a 50 percent to 60 percent chance for above normal, the prediction center says. That’s as opposed to right at or below the norm.
AccuWeather too is looking at a warmer than normal June, July and August, Boston said.
Refocusing to the week ahead, unsettled conditions are expected, though “it won’t be raining the entire time,” said News 12 Long Island meteorologist Matt Hammer.
Temperatures for the week are expected to be a bit below average through Friday, with 64 degrees being the normal high for this time of year through the rest of the week.