Record March Warmth Sizzles U.S.
April 9, 2012
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill
Only four months into 2012 and already it`s gotten off to a record-breaking start. The first quarter of the year was the warmest ever across the contiguous U.S. while in the March alone, 15,000 warm temperature records were shattered.
The average temperature in March across the U.S. was 51.1 degrees Fahrenheit. This was a half degree warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910 and a staggering 8.6 degrees above the March average. As a matter of fact, only January 2006 has seen a larger departure from average temperature than March 2012 since U.S. climate records started more than 117 years ago.
Every state in the U.S. had at least one record warm daily temperature established in March. In total, there were 7,755 daytime high temperature records shattered and 7,517 nighttime record warm temperatures in March.
Twenty-five states east of the Rockies had their warmest March and the warmest first quarter of the year (January through March) on record. The only state that had below-average temperatures in March was Washington. Meanwhile, several large cities, including Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., had their warmest first quarter of the year.
When the entire length of the cold season, defined as October through March, is considered, the U.S. had its second warmest on record. The only other cold season that beat out October 2011 to March 2012 was October 1999 to March 2000.
The warm weather in March fostered significant severe weather in the Central and Eastern U.S. Of the 223 tornadoes reported in March, the majority occurred during the March 2nd and 3rd outbreak in the Ohio Valley and Southeast. This severe weather event was the first billion dollar disaster of 2012.
While spring blossomed early in the Lower 48 in March, it was a far different story in the U.S. `s 49th state. Alaska had its ninth coolest first quarter of the year in recorded history. Temperatures were 5.2 degrees below average.
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Source and Story Image: NOAA
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