Could Easter be colder than Christmas?

There is a good chance that Easter may be colder than last Christmas across south-central Kentucky. The core of the arctic blast that will keep temperatures around 15 degrees below normal through the beginning of next week will move across the area this weekend (Can you believe the 522 dm thickness over Bowling Green??). Temperatures Saturday will only be in the middle 40s across south-central KY and will struggle to reach much past 40 in the north. Easter morning will start with lows in the teens in a few spots across the north and in the middle 20s across the south. But just how often does Easter end up colder than Christmas?

Christmas 2006 had a low of 38, high of 46, for an average of 42 degrees. The NWS forecast for Easter Sunday is a low of 25 (which would break the record low of 26 last set in 1990), high of 51, for an average of 38. I was curious as to how often this has happened in the historical record. Unfortunately, while the date of Christmas (December 25th) does not change, the date of Easter changes from year to year. Therefore, I simply looked at how often April 8th was colder for the low, high, and average temperatures than the preceding December 25th. Using Bowling Green weather data back to 1895, I found the following results…

On 12 occasions the April 8th low was colder than the December 25th low
On 7 occasions the April 8th high was colder than the December 25th high
On 9 occasions the April 8th mean was colder than the December 25th mean

So obviously, while it is unusual that Easter is colder than Christmas (<10% of the time), it certainly is not unprecedented. In fact, the last time this occurred was 1983, when Christmas (of 1982) had a high of 70 and a low of 65. The following April 8th was quite chilly, with a high of 54 and a low of 48. 1972 was another extreme example, as Christmas of 1971 had a high of 59 and a low of 47 while the following April 8th only had a high of 46 with a low of 26.

On a closing note, the Christmas of 1982 with the high/low of 70/65 was the all-time warmest Christmas ever. It was followed the following year in 1983 with the all-time coldest Christmas ever, with a high/low of 10/-7.

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