Crozet Weather Almanac: May 2018

Chart courtesy Heidi Sonen and Roscow Shaw.

Coldest Spring in Your Lifetime

January was brutally cold but February was insanely warm.  Then cold dominated almost all of March and April.  Lately, “normal weather” means nothing around here.

Of course, Heidi frequently says that “The weather is always crazy.  Keeps us employed.” So, as the highly paid meteorological writers for the Crozet Gazette, we decided to dig into the record books to put March and April in perspective.

We dug back 100 years and found that the March/April combo was the 4th coldest on record.  This year’s average temperature was just 47.8 degrees.  Normal is 52 degrees, with the coldest ever in 1926, when temps were half a degree colder than this year.  The other colder years were 1940 and 1944.

In other words, it was the coldest March/April in your lifetime…unless you are my mom’s age.  And she wasn’t even born yet back in ’26.

 Why did this happen?  Answering the “why” about weather is never really satisfying.  We could say that the jet stream was unusually amplified and stationary.  The jet stream snakes around the world in a wavy pattern. Usually, this moves and changes a great deal, but recently we have been stuck in a big cold dip over the central and eastern USA.  But why did that happen?  The answer is more philosophy than science. 

May is starting off hot, so be careful what you wish for.  In another month or two, you may be begging for a cold front.

Rain and Drought Update 

Rainfall in April was 4.43” which was above normal.  We have been a bit concerned over a possible long-term drought developing, but recent rains have helped and any potential problems are still a long way off. 


  1. The drought update should read that we’ve been in one for a year and a half. Better late than never, I guess.
    Anyway, buckle up, terrestrial plant enthusiasts! It’s bad right now, no matter what happened in April, and is going to get a lot worse. Yet, nobody is talking about it. The US drought monitor shows that all is normal because of one single solitary month of above average precip. To them April wiped out 2 years of drought. If it were only that easy.
    Notice how it really doesn’t feel humid anymore whether it be before or after a rain? This is bad news.
    Our winter air is pretty much always from Canada so you would expect it to be dry, But, our summer air is now coming from Mexico rather than the Gulf of. This means reduced summer shower activity.
    Even hurricane moisture is hard pressed to make an appearance here which, basically, is our entire drought problem in a nut shell. This shift in weather patterns will quickly turn our forests in this area into scrub and pine. Think of that…the prospect of deciduous trees slowly dying off in central Virginia. Oh, the humanity!
    Pray for a long line of hurricanes this season…and every future season. In lieu of that, my advice is to not use your well for any purpose outside of the house.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here