March and "Meteorological Madness"

“March Madness” is a term that can go beyond basketball. March is a month of many faces when it comes to weather. The transition to spring conditions brings a lot of variability and makes for some challenging forecast situations.

An example of one extreme weather situation is the coastal storm that struck the Mid Atlantic and Northeastern part of the U.S. on March 3, 1994. Wind, rain and snow were all a part of that storm. The graphic below has some of the statistics.
JC_HistMar31994

On average, March begins with high temperatures near 50 degreees and lows just below freezing. By the end of the month the average highs are near 60 with lows in the upper 30s. In the record books, the last day to record a low temperature in the single digits is March 21 which, interestingly, is one of the three days that spring typically begins. Significant snowfalls are not unusual, especially in the first half of the month. Six dates in the record books show snow totals in excess of 10 inches. One of those was on March 29, 1942 with a total of 22 inches on the ground.
JC_VariableMarch

Spring officially starts this year on Thursday, March 20 at 1:48am. We won’t have to wait until then for springlike temperatures. A few days of unseasonably mild weather are on the way and a few thunderstorms may even add to the effect.

John Collins

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