April and May so far have brought the Island a mixed weather bag that has included blustery ocean storms, drizzly weekends and that relatively unusual Vineyard occurrence, springlike weather in the spring.
Winter on the Island generally tends to go right into summer. But this spring has pleasantly surprised Vineyarders with spates of mild, sunny days.
Average temperature for April was 48.2 degrees, higher by 3.4 degrees above the monthly average. The warmest day was April 24 when the thermometer peaked at 74 degrees. The coldest morning of the month was April 3 when the thermometer at the cooperative weather station dipped to 28.
During the first half of May, temperatures have ranged from lows in the lower 40s to highs in the mid to upper 60s.
Rainfall amounts at the National Weather Service cooperative station in Edgartown are slightly behind. Halfway into May the total is 1.93 inches, or well below the monthly average of 4.25 inches.
April was a month of weather extremes. For almost three weeks, no rain fell. But the start and end of the month were wet.
Rainfall totaled 3.95 inches in April, according to the cooperative station. The rest of the month suffered from dry weather. The annual April average is 4.28 inches. Rainfall for the year so far is 14.86 inches, or 1.24 inches below average.
Storms also have visited the Vineyard this spring.
A large ocean storm hundreds of miles south of the Vineyard kicked up winds around the Island on May 12 and 13. Prevailing northeast winds ran steadily from 35 to 40 miles per hour for hours and kicked up seas in Nantucket Sound.
Wayne Lamson, general manager of the Steamship Authority, said no Vineyard boats were cancelled during the storm but Nantucket ferry service was shut down starting on the afternoon of May 12 and didn’t resume until the morning of May 13.
At the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, owner Phil Hale said his staff recorded a high wind gust of 56 miles per hour during the storm.
Rainy or partly rainy weekends formed a mini-trend in early May.
On Saturday, May 10, the weather was wet for the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club trout tournament, and led to the cancellation of the solar car race at the West Tisbury town hall. On that day, the cooperative weather station recorded 1.31 inches of rainfall.
The preceding weekend, the 19th annual National Multiple Sclerosis Society bike ride also contended with wet weather.
Despite the rainy weekends, Bill Wilcox, a water resource planner for the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, said Vineyard groundwater is still a bit below average. A recent test revealed the groundwater level at about 14.25 feet above sea level, or more than a foot below the April average of 15.66 feet. Mr. Wilcox, however, said the level is well within the usual parameters of spring.
Longtime Island weather observers, such as John Varkonda, superintendent of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, and Tom Clark of the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury, said the succession of bright sunshine and rainy days has contributed to vivid blooms throughout the Vineyard.
“Everything is popping,” Mr. Varkonda said recently. “I think we’ve turned a corner.”
At Polly Hill, Mr. Clark said, “The weather is really conducive to plants staying in bloom.”