The first half of April probably had many of you thinking that we had skipped spring entirely and moved straight into the summer months. The weather pattern changed significantly on the evening of April 16, when a strong cold front pushed through the area breaking a nine-day dry streak at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Airport.

Since then, there have been a few nice days here and there, but temperatures overall have been cooler and there has been more precipitation. What is the reason for the change and how will this impact the weather during the first part of May?

The weather pattern has been on repeat over the past two weeks and the strongest version will impact the Valley to start off May. The weather pattern is known as the “omega block,” defined by a strong ridge of high pressure, which is sandwiched by two areas of low pressure. It is called an omega block because the weather pattern can look like the last letter of the Greek alphabet: omega (Ω). Sometimes, the ridge of high pressure sets up over the Valley, which results in tranquil weather and above average temperatures.

However, over the past two weeks, two regions of strong high pressure system have been located in the western U.S. and the Atlantic ocean off the east coast. This pattern causes a low pressure system to become stagnant over the Valley, resulting in cooler-than-normal temperatures and above average precipitation. The high pressure systems to the east and west “block” the low pressure system from pushes off the coast of the northeast U.S. like normal. Consequently, the low pressure system stalls over the Great Lakes region.

Visual description of the “omega blocking” weather pattern.

As previously stated, this weather pattern will impact our area for the first week of May. The low pressure system over our area will continue to persist over the next few days bringing below average temperatures and multiple chances for precipitation including snow! Here is a look at the forecast high and low temperatures for the week.

Forecast high and low temperatures for Sunday, April 30, 2023, through Friday, May 5, 2023. Red line is the average high temperature of 67 degrees, while the blue line is the average low temperature of 44 degrees.

April 2023: “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”

April 2023 has been similar to the book “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson. The first half of April featured an average high temperature of nearly 70 degrees and was 12 degrees above average. Furthermore, there was only 1.03″ of precipitation recorded between April 1 and April 16.

The omega block weather pattern began on April 17 and since then the average high temperature has been 58 degrees, which is 6 degrees below average and there has been 1.88 inches of precipitation.

Overview of April 2023 weather.

The weather pattern does look like it will improve as we enter the second week of May, but the temperature might not hit 80 degrees again for awhile.