Monday, April 2, 2012

March 2012 ... one for the record book

We've just completed the second-warmest March in Charlotte weather history, but that was nothing, compared to what happened over much of the continental United States during the month.

Dozens of cities, from Maine to Wyoming, broke records for the warmest March ever.

Some cities set daily high temperature records for a week in a row. In one Michigan city, a daily high temperature record was broken by 42 degrees -- and even the morning low was warmer than the previous record high for the date.

More of the same is expected in April, although the start of the month might be a bit cooler than we've seen in recent weeks.

In Charlotte, the average temperature -- calculated by averaging out the daily highs and lows at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport -- was 61.3 degrees. The only March that was warmer was in 1945, when the average was 61.6.

We had 10 days with highs of 80 degrees or warmer, which tied a record for the month.

But several Carolinas cities had the warmest March on record. And it was the same over much of the nation, except for the West Coast, the Southwest, Alaska and Hawaii.

Tampa set a record for the warmest March. So did Riverton, Wyo. So did Portland, Maine. For that matter, so did Winnipeg, in the Canadian prairie province of Manitoba. In fact, the average temperature in March for Winnipeg was 20 degrees warmer than usual.

Perhaps the most amazing event came March 21, when it climbed to 81 degrees in Marquette, Mich., up along Lake Superior on the U.S.-Canada border. The former record high for March 21 was 49 degrees. 49! And the high for the date was 81!

NOAA's forecast for April is a continuation of above-average temperatures in most of the East, although meteorologists also expect the month to be dry. March, while very warm, produced average rainfall totals in much of the Carolinas. The next week or two is expected to be cooler than average in the Carolinas, with a warm-up afterward.

Incidentally, before you get started on the Global Warming Chorus, be aware that March was very chilly on the other side of the globe. It was cold and wet over much of the United Kingdom and Europe.


Anonymous said...

FYI 81-49 =32 not 42

benritmato said...

Yes, NOAA has released an analysis that says global warming has contributed up to 10% of the severity of the heat wave. Of course, local or regional weather can't be used to say global warming is real or not.
We can know global warming is real because the average global temperature has been warming since before I was born, and natural factors don't account for that.
But to be clear, we can't say this heat wave proves global warming.