Warmer weather, storms to come as April nears

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

JASPER — Spring is here, which in Indiana means unpredictable weather for at least the next couple weeks.

The months of March and April in the Midwest typically consist of colder, sometimes frigid temperatures during the early mornings and nights and warmer weather — sometimes reaching the 80s — during the day. On top of that, the drastic weather changes often lead to storms.

“March is a really changeable time of year where we really begin our transition out of winter,” Jason Puma, an Indianapolis meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said. “Most of our severe weather is typically occurring during the springtime months.”

This past Saturday, temperatures reached up to 75 degrees with a low of 48, according to NWS. This significant change can often lead to an increase in thunderstorms and other severe weather.

Generally, the most tornadoes that come through Indiana occur during the months of April, May and June, Puma said, averaging about 20 tornadoes a year. Last year averaged slightly less but 2019 had more than usual.

Similarly, this year is expected to have more storms and tornadoes than usual, he said. This primarily is because of La Niña, a global weather pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean every few years and causes strong winds.

On average, March is the second wettest month of the year in Jasper, according to NWS.

While the rainy weather may not be ideal for relaxing outside, it does mean it’s about time to start gardening again. Cool-season vegetables such as spinach and carrots should be planted in March or April, Purdue Extension Educator Steve Mayer said in an article on the extension’s website. Plants like broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce can also typically endure the up-and-down weather of March and April.

“They are often planted in spring to mature before the hot weather or in late summer to mature in the cooler fall weather,” Mayer said.

However, warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers should wait until May, when a spring frost is less likely.

With the warmer weather, especially in combination with COVID-19 having largely kept everyone in their homes for the past year, people are itching to get outside, Puma said. But beware — this year will mark the reemergence of cicadas for the first time in 17 years.

According to Purdue Extension, Indiana can expect up to 1.5 million cicadas per acre to come out of the ground within the next month or two, depending on the weather. An especially warm spring night could cause them to emerge sooner than usual.

Although the insects aren’t harmful, it will certainly cause a more noisy spring than usual.

“It’s certainly interesting to be living in Indiana right now,” Puma said.




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