Judging by all of the grumbling going on recently, you might think that we are setting some records for cold or snow during this month of March. Interestingly, we are not even close. So far we have not set any daily records for snow or cold and it is highly unlikely that we will break any monthly records, that is unless we do not hit 40 degrees during the month. That might be an odd record that we set. I haven’t looked at all the March records all the way back to the 1800s, so I don’t know for sure if we have ever had a March without 40 degrees, but if it would happen this March, I will be sure to find out.
So how far away are we from the all time coldest March? About 5 degrees. The coldest March on record (in Wausau) occurred in 1899 when the average temperature was only 17.4 degrees. This year’s cold does not even put us in the top 10 for coldest March. In the 10 spot is March of 1926 and 1956. In both of those years the average temperature for the month was 21.9. This year our average temperature through the 20th is 22.1, which puts us in 11th place. With a bit milder weather on the way, I would expect our average temperature to rise up to around 24 or 25 yet before the end of the month, which would probably put us on the outside of the top 20 for coldest March. This March sure is one of the coldest in recent memory, but it doesn’t compare to the era prior to 1960, where most of the records herald from.
So yes, it is cold, there is a lot of snow on the ground yet, and we might not hit 40 this March, and this is reason to grumble a little. However, be thankful you didn’t have to live through March of 1899!Is there any hope for a blast of Spring-like warmth as we head into April? Maybe. Just looking at the extended daily weather charts, it doesn’t look like anything real warm for the next week to 10 days, however the newest CPC extended outlooks indicate at least a chance for a warm-up in April across the southeastern half of the country including the eastern half of Wisconsin. It isn’t a very strong signal for warmer weather, and we still have a bit of snow to melt away, so I wouldn’t be too confident in a warmer April, but sometimes the weather pattern can switch dramatically.
What about later in the year? If you click through the 3-month forecasts at the CPC website, you will find that the CPC is forecasting a good chance nearly all the country will be above normal during the Summer (the “JJA” period). I sure hope it isn’t as hot this year as last year. Another hot dry year would be bad for food production and no doubt the media will go crazy with “end of the world/disaster” predictions. The possible good news from the CPC predictions is that there is a good chance that precipitation will be above normal in Wisconsin during April, May, and maybe early Summer.
Have a good Thursday! Meteorologist Justin Loew
This post was written by jloew on March 21, 2013