Warmth of MarchIt was a warm and wooly month of March in Douglas County. Weather data for the month has experts marveling at just how mild the month was. Based on preliminary temperature data released by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center Tuesday, March was the warmest on record for the nine-state Midwest region.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
It was a warm and wooly month of March in Douglas County.
Weather data for the month has experts marveling at just how mild the month was.
Based on preliminary temperature data released by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center Tuesday, March was the warmest on record for the nine-state Midwest region.
The average temperature for the region was 50.3 degrees, which breaks the previous record of 46.9 degrees set more than 100 years ago in 1910, according to the center.
In Alexandria, high temperatures climbed to 60 degrees or more 12 days this past March, even soaring into the 70s five times.
How rare is that?
The Echo Press researched Alexandria’s data through Accuweather.com going back to 1992 and here’s what we found:
In March 2011, the high temperature for the entire month was 45 degrees.
Before this year, the “hottest” March in the past 20 years in terms of 60-degree or warmer days, was March 2000 when highs reached that mark four times.
Before this year, March temperatures hit the 70s just twice – a 72-degree day on March 30, 2010 and a 71-degree high on March 31, 2003.
Since 1992, it was fairly common for March temperatures to stay below 50 degrees for the entire month. It happened six times – 2011 (a high of 45 degrees for the month), 2008 (44 degrees), 2002 (47 degrees), 2001 (42 degrees), 1997 (47 degrees) and 1996 (46 degrees).
The low temperatures for the month were also revealing. Since March 14 of this year, temperatures dipped below freezing on only one other day, March 25, when the overnight low sank to 29 degrees.
Here is more weather data from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center:
Each of the nine Midwest states also set statewide records for the warmest March.
Statewide records go back to 1895, and the existing records were all from the early to mid-20th century.
Preliminary statewide average temperatures for March are 54.9 degrees in Illinois (previous record 1946), 54.4 degrees in Indiana (1946), 51.3 degrees in Iowa (1910), 57.6 degrees in Kentucky (1945), 44.5 degrees in Michigan (1945), 42 degrees in Minnesota (1910), 57.7 degrees in Missouri (1910), 51.5 degrees in Ohio (1946), and 45.3 degrees in Wisconsin (1910).
Throughout the month, more than 6,400 daily record high temperatures (including both minimum and maximum temperatures) were set or tied, with more than 650 of them also setting records for the warmest temperature for any day in March.
A majority of the records were set during the middle of the month, from the 14th through the 24th of March, when hundreds of records fell each day.
March average temperatures ranged from 10 degrees above average in Kentucky to 17 degrees above average in northwest Iowa, southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
During the record-breaking period from March 14 to 24, temperature departures ranged from at least 13 degrees above average in southwest Missouri to just over 29 degrees above average in central Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
Cities across the Midwest experienced their warmest March on record. In St. Louis, Missouri, the average March temperature of 61.1 degrees was 14.8 degrees above normal, which broke the previous warmest March record of 57.5 degrees (set in 1910). Cincinnati, Ohio experienced an average March temperature of 55.3 degrees, which was 11.7 degrees above normal, breaking the previous warmest March record of 54.7 degrees set in 1946.
Further to the north, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Detroit, Michigan were two of several cities in the upper Midwest region to experience their warmest March on record. With an average March temperature of 48.3 degrees, Minneapolis broke the previous warmest March record by 3.4 degrees (set in 1910). Detroit experienced an average March temperature of 50.7 degrees, which was 13.5 degrees above normal, breaking the previous record of 47.9 degrees set in 1945.