A Mostly Tame March
March average temperatures ranged from near normal to 9°F above normal.
March was a mild month for the entire Northeast, with average temperatures ranging from 3°F to 9°F above normal in most areas. All 35 major climate sites experienced above-normal temperatures, with 27 of them ranking this March among their 10 warmest Marches on record. Average temperature departures at the major climate sites ranged from 1.4°F above normal in Caribou, ME, to 8.1°F above normal in Beckley, WV. In fact, Beckley recorded its hottest March day on record with a high of 85°F on March 28. Also of note, Portland, ME, reported a high of 70°F on March 9, making it the site’s earliest 70°F day on record.
This March ranked among the 10 warmest on record for 27 major climate sites.
March snowfall ranged from more than 12 inches below normal to near normal.
Along with above-normal temperatures came below-normal snowfall. Almost the entire Northeast saw snowfall deficits, ranging from within 3 inches of normal to more than 12 inches below normal. The largest deficits were generally found in northwestern Pennsylvania, New York, northern Vermont, and northern New Hampshire. Eleven of the 35 major climate sites set or tied their record for least snowy March, with another 11 sites ranking this March among their 10 least snowy. Snowfall at all the major climate sites ranged from 13.7 inches below normal in Erie, PA, to 0.4 inches above normal in Caribou, ME. Interestingly, it was the first time on record with no measurable snow in both February and March for Bridgeport, CT; Islip and Kennedy Airport, NY; and Allentown and Harrisburg, PA.
Eleven major climate sites set or tied their record for least snowy March.
March precipitation ranged from less than 50% of normal to more than 200% of normal.
March precipitation varied, ranging from less than 50% of normal in Downeast Maine and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia to more than 200% of normal in parts of western/northern New York, western Pennsylvania, and southern West Virginia. Of the 35 major climate sites, 21 wrapped up March on the dry side of normal while 14 were wetter than normal. Precipitation ranged from 59% of normal at Dulles Airport, VA, their 11th driest March, to 164% of normal in Pittsburgh, PA.
Below-normal precipitation, low streamflow, and below-normal groundwater levels led to the introduction of abnormal dryness in parts of southern New England, southeastern New York, and the northern half of New Jersey in mid-March. The following week, enough precipitation fell to ease some of the dryness, with the U.S. Drought Monitor released on March 26 showing 3% of the Northeast as abnormally dry.
Parts of the region did see some severe weather during the month. On March 28 and 29, strong to severe thunderstorms produced golf ball to tennis ball-sized hail in western Pennsylvania and quarter to golf ball-sized hail in Massachusetts, which is unusual for March.
Precipitation ranged from 59% of normal at Dulles Airport, VA, to 164% of normal in Pittsburgh, PA, during March.
March’s trends of warmer-than-normal temperatures and a wetter-than-normal southern West Virginia are expected to continue into April according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. April is expected to average out to be warmer than normal for a majority of the Northeast, with the exceptions being Maine and eastern Massachusetts where equal chances were predicted. There’s a tilt towards above-normal precipitation for much of West Virginia but equal chances of below-, near-, or above-normal precipitation was predicted for the bulk of the Northeast.
April is expected to average out to be warmer than normal in the Northeast.
Much of the Northeast falls into the equal chances category for April precipitation.