I just crunched the numbers and this March turned out as extraordinary as we thought it might several weeks ago. In fact it was the warmest on record in Wausau and much of the Midwest region for that matter. Accurate temperature record generally date back to around 1880 in our area.
In Wausau, the average high in March 2012 was 55.3 degrees which is 15.8 degrees above normal. The average low was 36.3 degrees which is also 15.8 degrees above normal. The mean temperature for the month was 45.8 degrees. This eclipses March of 1910 for the record warmest mean when we had 43.3 degrees. I can’t tell you how rare it is to break the all time temperature record for a month by almost 3 degrees. Usually if you were to do it, you would squeak by by a degree. Of course what really put us over the top was the middle portion of the month when record high temperatures were established on 11 of 13 days in Wausau.
As far as precipitation goes, it was dry. We had 1.13″ of rain or melted snow in Wausau which is .63″ below normal. We picked up just 1.6″ of snow, which is 8.4″ below normal. The lack of moisture did not stop fruit trees and certain flowers from blooming out a good month early.
WHY IT STAYED SO COOL SATURDAY?
We were hoping temperatures might climb up into the lower 60s Saturday but a stubborn layer of low level moisture, stratus clouds, and fog refused to move out. We had a temperature inversion in place several thousand feet aloft that helped trap the moisture and clouds. Plus we had southeast winds which this time of the year tend to drag and stable, cool, moist marine air off the cool Great Lakes. That did not help the situation either. Below you will see the surface observation map around 4 p.m. Saturday. The red numbers on the map were the current temperatures. There was an amazing spread from the lower 40s in Wisconsin to near 90 degrees in eastern Nebraska and 80s in South Dakota. Of course they had the sunshine out and a wind direction off the Plains helping to drive the warm air aloft down to the surface. Hopefully we will tap into some of that warmth and sunshine Sunday.