Wednesday's low in Columbus of 37º was unusually cold for mid-April, but not unprecedented. The record low on this date is 32º set back in 1950, so we didn't really threaten to break it. In fact, only twice has it been that cold any later in the season: another 32º on April 17, 1949 and one more that occurred April 21, 1953 - three days after a destructive tornado struck the city.
It's unlikely we'll break that other record today, either: the lowest maximum temperature for April 16 is 61º in 2001. We should beat that number, but even being close on a sunny day (as opposed to cloudy/rainy) is quite a feat.
This being April, we won't see the cold air hang around for too long. For one thing, the intensity of the sun at this time of year is roughly equal to that of late August, so the sun has some power to warm us up. Also, an actively changing weather pattern will send the air mass packing, to be replaced by one that doesn't have its origins in the Great White North. Already our winds have swung to the east, which indicates the big Canadian high is on the move.
But before it warms up again, we will have to deal with Mother Nature's curve ball, a Gulf low predicted to develop and tossed our way for Friday. Most models are showing this, but disagree on the moisture, placement, intensity, and track it will follow. It remains a tricky forecast even though we're only two days out. For now, I'm calling for just a chance of rain for Columbus and the surrounding area, with the expectation the heaviest amounts will be along the Gulf coast as the low tracks across north Florida Friday night.
Once the low departs, another high takes over, but this one will be much milder. Temperatures will be back up to normal for Easter weekend and could approach 80º on Easter Sunday along with a good amount of sunshine. Next week overall is looking much warmer, in fact the potential is there for our warmest temperatures so far this spring as an upper ridge builds in the East while storminess focuses on the western and Plains states.
Let's just hope we don't warm up too much, too fast! Those 90-degree days are going to come soon enough; enjoy the cool weather now because we may not see these kind of temperatures again until October.
Kurt Schmitz, Senior Meteorologist