A March like no other in recorded history, with all sites reporting their warmest March on record!  The first couple days of the month gave no indication of what was to come, with a record setting snowstorm late on the 2nd, continuing into the morning of the 3rd.  Snowfall amounts across much of the area ranged from 8 to 14 inches, with locations near and south of Traverse City coming in with nearly 2 feet of snow.  Tree damage and power outages were widespread as a result of the heavy, wet snow, forcing several places to open up shelters.  The pattern changed to a warmer one thereafter, culminated by an unbelievable week-long stretch of warm (hot by March standards) weather from the 14th through the 21st, when highs in the 70s and 80s were common, and daily temperature departures averaged over 30 degrees above normal.  All-time record high temperatures for the month were observed across the state (including all sites listed below), some breaking their old record by several degrees.  By the time the month ended, average temperatures for some locations exceeded those normal for April!  Without a doubt, one of the greatest stretches of above normal warmth ever observed for Northern Michigan.  A historic month, indeed. 

March Temperature Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2012)

March Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date(s)

Coolest Temp/Date(s)

Previous Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

37.7 

26.3 

+11.4 

 Warmest

83** / 21st

-9 / 5th

37.6 / 2010

13.8 / 1923

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2012)

March Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date(s)

Coolest Temp/Date(s)

Previous Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 43.7

29.1

+14.6 

Warmest

85** / 21st

-3 / 5th

42.0 / 1945

20.4 / 1923

 

Alpena (1916 - 2012)

March Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date(s)

Coolest Temp/Date(s)

Previous Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

40.9 

28.7

+12.2

 Warmest

87** / 21st

-3 / 5th

39.7 / 1946

17.3 / 1960

 

Traverse City Airport (1897 - 2012)

March Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date(s)

Coolest Temp/Date(s)

Previous Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 46.8

30.8 

+16.0

Warmest

87** / 21st

9 / 4th

41.5 / 1946

20.8 / 1960*

 

Gaylord Airport (1951 - 2012)

March Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Warmest Temp/Date(s)

Coolest Temp/Date(s)

Previous Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 41.4

27.7

+13.7

 Warmest

83** / 21st

-17 / 5th

39.3 / 1973

19.4 / 1960

 

 

March Precipitation Data (inches):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest 24-hr rainfall/date(s)

Days with measurable precipitation

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

2.50 

1.95

+0.55 

 N/A

0.82 / 2nd-3rd

 14

4.97 / 1976

0.09 / 1915

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest 24-hr rainfall/date(s)

Days with measurable precipitation

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 2.97

1.84

+1.13

 N/A

0.82 / 2nd-3rd 

10 

5.67 / 1976

0.19 / 2001

 

Alpena (1916 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest 24-hr rainfall/date(s)

Days with measurable precipitation

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

1.88 

1.84

+0.04

N/A 

0.81 / 2nd-3rd

13 

7.37 / 1998

0.32 / 1958

 

Traverse City Cooperative Observing Station (1930 - 1993, 2001 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Previous Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 4.36

1.94

+2.42 

Wettest

4.19 / 1976

0.26 / 1937

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 2.93

2.28

+0.65 

N/A

6.20 / 1998

0.15 / 2010

Gaylord, MI (APX): March, 2012 Monthly Observed Precipitation Valid at 4/1/2012 1200 UTC - Created 4/1/12 23:41 UTC 

 Gaylord, MI (APX): March, 2012 Monthly Percent of Normal Precipitation Valid at 4/1/2012 1200 UTC - Created 4/1/12 23:45 UTC

March Snowfall Data (inches):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest daily snowfall/date(s)

Days with measurable snowfall

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

 9.7

12.4

-2.7 

 N/A

5.5 / 3rd

7

37.5 / 2002

T / 2010

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest daily snowfall/date(s)

Days with measurable snowfall

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

14.3 

7.8 

 +6.5

N/A 

4.6 / 9th

4

43.5 / 1923

T / 2010*

 

Alpena (1916 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Greatest daily snowfall/date(s)

Days with measurable snowfall

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

7.2 

10.3

-3.1 

N/A

3.0 / 3rd

6

49.4 / 1926

/ 2010

 

Traverse City Cooperative Observing Station (1930 - 1993, 2001 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

 13.1

10.7

+2.4 

N/A

30.9 / 1959

0.0 / 2010

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

25.3 

16.2

+9.1 

N/A

47.5 / 1955

T / 2010

 

- all averages are calculated using the new 1981 - 2010 period

( ) = Consistent years of record; Record temperature data for Gaylord is a combination of Gaylord Airport (2001- 2011) and the Cooperative Observing Station records (1951-2001), Record precipitation data for Traverse City is a combination of Cherry Capital Airport (1930-1993) and the Cooperative Observing Station records (2001-2011)

- only rankings in the top 10 will be entered

* = Record occurred in multiple years; latest year shown

** = New all-time record high for the month

**THESE DATA ARE PRELIMINARY AND HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FINAL QUALITY CONTROL BY THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER. THEREFORE, THESE DATA ARE SUBJECT TO REVISION. FINAL AND CERTIFIED CLIMATE DATA CAN BE ACCESSED AT WWW.NCDC.NOAA.GOV.**

For additional climate information and atmospheric and oceanic features that drive the patterns across our area, please visit the following links:

Latest Central Pacific Ocean Temperature Trends      Large Scale Atmospheric Blocking Features      Local Climate Home Page

* Data for Traverse City is derived from a composite of observations taken at both Cherry Capital Airport and the cooperative observing station at Munson Medical Center. This data is for informational purposes only and does not meet climatological standards. This data set may include periods with missing data…particularly snowfall data from 1996-2001.

**Data for Gaylord is derived from a composite of observations taken at both Gaylord-Otsego County Airport and the cooperative observing station located near downtown Gaylord. This data is for informational purposes only and does not meet climatological standards. This data set may include periods with missing data and data that has been recorded from different observing points throughout history.


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