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April on track to be the coldest in 143 years

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
A weekend ice storm coated trees and buildings with ice, flooded freeways, brought down power lines and knocked out power to about 390,000 homes and businesses statewide Sunday.

No, you're not crazy. It has been the coldest April in more than 140 years. 

A year ago today, on April 19, 2017, it was 78 degrees and sunny, while Thursday's expected high is 48 degrees, said National Weather Service meteorologist Trent Frey. 

As of Thursday, the average temperature for April is 38.3 degrees, slightly warmer than April 1874, the coldest on record at 37.6 degrees. 

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"The average high (in April) for Detroit last year was 60 degrees, believe it or not," Frey said. "If April ended tomorrow, it would be the second-coldest on record."

He said if the weather stays consistent, April will be on track to be the coldest since 1874, but it looks like it should warm up this weekend. Weekend highs are expected to be in the mid- to upper 50s.

The month's warmest day so far was April 12, with a high of 76 degrees, and the coldest was April 8, when it got down to 21 degrees. 

"We're going through a pattern change in Metro Detroit right now and things should start to moderate back to normal," Frey said. 

So far, 2.4 inches of snow has fallen in April in what feels like a never-ending winter, Frey said. Metro Detroit is not expected to get any more snow in the foreseeable future; however, "it can't be ruled out."

DTE Energy has restored power to 99 percent of the 390,000 customers impacted by Sunday’s ice storm. They expect to restore the remaining 5,000 customers by the end of Thursday, officials said. 

The weather has also affected some local businesses that usually thrive in April, like Detroit Hives, an organization that transforms vacant Detroit lots into urban bee farms. 

"This weather has been detrimental to our pollinators and has caused one of our hives to die because of the frigid temperatures," said Tim Taule, director and co-founder of Detroit Hives. 

Taule said they usually wait until the third week of April to start their season but the bees are still holding on from winter. They are planting more hives and have plans to replace the one that did decay in the extended winter. 

Extended forecast

Friday: Sunny with a high of 54 degrees, low of 31 degrees. 

Saturday: Sunny with a high of 56, low of 35 degrees. 

Sunday: Sunny with a high of 58, low of 38 degrees.

Monday: Sunny with a high of 63 degrees, low of 44 degrees. 

Tuesday: Cloudy with a high of 58 degrees and a low of 46.