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Northeast Overview - March 2013

Monthly Summary

PLEASE NOTE: Data is preliminary and subject to change.

Cooler than normal temperatures prevailed for nine of the twelve Northeast states during March. With an average temperature of 33.3 degrees F (0.7 degrees C) it was 1.3 degrees F (0.7 degrees C) below average in the Northeast. In terms of departure from normal, West Virginia was the coldest state at -5.4 degrees F (-3.0 degrees C), making it their 13th coldest March in 119 years. Departures for the rest of the cool states ranged from -4.3 degrees F (-2.4 degrees C) in Maryland, its 23rd coldest, to -0.6 degrees F (-0.3 degrees C) in Rhode Island. Of the warm states, Maine had the greatest departure from normal. At +3.9 degrees F (+2.2 degrees C) above normal, it was the 21st warmest March since 1895 in the state. Departures for the other two states were +1.5 degrees F (+0.8 degrees C) in Vermont and +1.2 degrees F (+0.7 degrees C) in New Hampshire.

Dry conditions lingered into March across the Northeast. Receiving 2.39 inches (60.7 mm) of precipitation, 68 percent of normal, the region had its 17th driest March on record. All states were drier than normal with departures ranging from 51 percent of normal in Rhode Island to 80 percent of normal in West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Four of the twelve Northeast states ranked March 2013 among their top 22 driest: New York, 12th; Pennsylvania, 13th; Connecticut, 21st; and New Hampshire, 22nd.

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions persisted through March in northeastern New York and along the Vermont-New Hampshire border. According to the US Drought Monitor issued on April 2, 2013, "parts of the lower Northeast have received 2 to 4 inches less precipitation than normal since the beginning of the year, so abnormal dryness was expanded into these regions." The regions referred to include portions of southern New York, a large swath of Pennsylvania, portions of western New Jersey, and part of one county in Connecticut.

A potent winter storm trekked across the Mid-Atlantic and up the New England coast from the 6th through the 8th dropping over a foot (30.5 cm) of snow in almost every state along the way. The greatest storm total snowfall of 29.8 inches (75.7 cm) was reported at Blue Hill, Massachusetts. Wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph (27 to 31 m/s) were reported along the coasts of Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. A buoy located in the Delaware Bay southeast of Cape May, New Jersey, recorded its 2nd highest wave height in 29 years when the strong winds pushed seas to a height of 25.6 feet (7.8 m) on the 6th. Wind-whipped seas also caused coastal flooding and beach erosion from Delaware to Maine. Major airports reported delays of up to 3.5 hours. Ten days later, on the 18th, several of the same locations that had been hit hard by the last storm received another 12+ inches (30.5+ cm) of snow. Behind the storm, lake-effect snows of up to 3 feet (91.4 cm) piled up east of Lake Ontario in New York. A storm from the 25th to the 26th brought up to 16 inches (40.6 cm) of snow to the highlands of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The snow allowed several ski resorts that had planned to close to extend their season into April.