Friday’s low temperature was the lowest ever recorded this late into spring

Posted Saturday, May. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Unusually cold May weather that brought a record low of 39 on Friday morning, the lowest temperature ever recorded in Dallas-Fort Worth this late into spring, is a continuation of a two-month trend of below-normal temperatures.

And there’s a chance — not a great one, unfortunately — that it could bode well for this summer.

Both March and April were below normal, the first time North Texas has had back-to-back months with below-normal temperatures in more than three years. In April, the average temperature was 63, 2.5 degrees below normal, making it the 18th-coolest April on record.

But there’s one huge caveat. The summer of 1980, the hottest on record, also had a cooler-than-normal April.

The National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office looked at the 20 coolest Aprils for North Texas and found that 14 of the subsequent summers were also below normal.

“The correlation isn’t that strong between cool Aprils and cooler-than-normal summers, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility,” weather service meteorologist Jennifer Dunn said.

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for June, July and August shows above-normal temperatures for almost the entire continental U.S., except for the West Coast and parts of the Upper Midwest. The outlook shows equal chances of above- or below-normal precipitation this summer for Texas.

In the short term, the chances of rain aren’t looking very good. There’s a slight chance Wednesday and Thursday, but no drought-breakers are on the horizon.

“There’s nothing really promising, nothing that looks like it is going to provide beneficial rains,” Dunn said. “We need rain. especially for our area lakes.”

The Tarrant Regional Water District, which provides raw water to 98 percent of Tarrant County, including Fort Worth, Arlington and Mansfield, is at 77 percent of capacity.

Twice-a-week outdoor-watering restrictions are triggered when it reaches 75 percent.

“We’ve seen very little runoff the last 30 to 60 days,” said David Marshall, the district’s engineering services director. “This is about as dry as we see it this time of year.”

If it stays drier than normal, water restrictions could take effect in 30 to 60 days. Marshall hopes the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released Thursday is accurate. It calls for the drought to ease across North Texas over the next month.

While no significant rainfall is predicted in the next few days, temperatures should be ideal this weekend.

After another cool morning with temperatures in the low 40s, temperatures should climb into the upper 60s on Saturday and Sunday.

Forecasters aren’t saying this is the last of the unusually cold weather. For now, they don’t see any more strong cold fronts on the horizon.

“It looks like the next front sometime toward next weekend won’t be as strong,” Dunn said.

But she said it is too early to say that there is a shift away from cooler-than-normal weather.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698 Twitter: @fwhanna

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