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Editorial: How cold was it?

Published: 5/1/2020 8:28:20 AM

Late-night comedians never tire of lines that start, “It was so cold that ...” Well, this April in Franklin County and the North Quabbin area, the weather was so cold that people were largely content to stay inside, coronavirus restrictions notwithstanding. This April was so cold, those COVID-19 face masks were not just a health precaution but a cozy accessory.

Joking aside, just how cold was it this April? Let’s compare it with last year.

According to charts kept by the Recorder based on data from the City of Greenfield, as of April 27, the average high was 53 degrees F. The average low, 33. The highest temperature of the month was 67. The lowest was 25. There were nine days where the minimum temperature was in the 20s. There were only five days when the temperature hit the 60s and that was as high as it ever got. So far this April, the temperature never got higher than 67, and that wasn’t until April 26.

By contrast, last year, April 2019, the average maximum temperature was 59 (5 degrees higher), the average minimum was 37 (four degrees higher), and the high temperature was 76 (compared to 67 this year). Last year, there were nine days with temperatures in the 60s; six days with temperatures in the 70s, and six days when temperatures were in the 20s or below (compared to nine this year).

So, yes, this April is colder than last April. What we haven’t had this year were those tantalizing tastes of summer when daytime highs spiked into the 70s, the kind of weather that makes us want to jump the gun on our spring gardens.

This was not what was predicted. According to the Old Farmers Almanac (the one published in Dublin, N.H.), April and May in the Northeast “will have above-normal temperatures, with below-normal rainfall.”

Meteorologists explain this week’s weather this way: a big area of low pressure is spinning off the Atlantic coastline, drawing in rain, wind, and eventually, chilly weather off the coast.

Of course, it will warm up and with the warmer temperatures, people will chaff against restrictions that keep us hibernating for our own safety.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, let’s hope the April of our discontent is made glorious May by the sun of good health.

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