CHAMPAIGN — For only the third time in Champaign-Urbana weather history, it appears that March might be warmer than April.
The average temperature so far this month, through Tuesday, is 54.3 degrees — which is actually warmer than normal.
But the average temperature in March was a balmy 55 degrees.
"It just shows how exceptional the warm weather was in March," said state climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign.
Last month was the warmest March ever in Champaign-Urbana — more than 3 full degrees warmer than the previous record-setter in 1946 — and 15 degrees above normal.
Only in 1907 and 1918 was March warmer in Champaign-Urbana than the succeeding month, Angel said. In March 1907, the average temperature was 46.5 degrees; a month later the average temperature was 42.5 degrees. The average temperature in March 1918 was 46.7 degrees; in April 1918 it was 46.3 degrees.
April may seem cool — compared with March — but it's actually been warmer than the 30-year average for the month, Angel said. The average April temperature over that period is 52 degrees.
Based on the weather forecast for the rest of April, it's a good bet it will end up cooler than March, Angel said.
And it's not just Champaign-Urbana that is running cooler this month than last, he said.
"The statewide average temperature for April 1-24 is 53.7 degrees. The statewide average temperature for March was 55 degrees," Angel wrote on his weather blog. "How rare is it for April to be colder than March? In the statewide records that extend back to 1895, it happened only in 1907 when the March temperature was 47 degrees and the April temperature was 43.2 degrees."