Near Record Annual Average Temperatures in 2012

Record Warm and Dry March

March 2012 Temperature Departure From Normal
March 2012 Precipitation Percent of Normal

Location

March 2012 Highlights

Bismarck

  • Six days with record high temperatures, including tying the highest March Bismarck temperature ever recorded of 81 degrees on the 16th.

  • The average temperature for the month was 43.2 F, 13.2 F above normal. Tied 1910 for the warmest March average temperature at Bismarck.

  • Only 0.5 inches of snow fell, which is the 6th least snowy March on record at Bismarck.

Williston

  • Four days with record high temperatures.

  • The average temperature for the month was 41.2 F, 11.9 F above normal. Second warmest March average temperature on record at Williston.

  • Only 0.10 inches of precipitation was measured which tied 1968 for the 9th driest March on record at Williston.

Minot

  • Seven days with record high temperatures.

  • The average temperature for the month was 41.5 F, 13.2 F above normal. Second warmest March average temperature on record at Minot.

Dickinson

  • Six days with record high temperatures.

  • The average temperature for the month was 43.8 F, 13.8 F above normal. Warmest March average temperature on record at Dickinson.

  • 0.04 inches of precipitation was measured, the 4th driest March on record.

Jamestown

  • Six days with record high temperatures.

  • The average temperature for the month was 41.2 F, 13.6 F above normal. Warmest March average temperature on record at Jamestown.

2012 Drought

A mild and dry winter and spring set the stage for the development of drought condtions across North Dakota as the warm and dry spell continued through the summer and through early fall. Shown at left is the Drought Monitor from October 16 during the peak of the drought intensity levels across the area. Widepsread moderate drought conditions were seen across much of central North Dakota (tan) with severe drought conditions (orange) arcoss western and portions of the north central and James River Valley.

The most significant impacts from the drought were short term agriculural stress and increased fire activity levels. However, moist soils from the previous three wet years helped to helped to maintain crop health in many areas despite the drought conditions. That said, soil moisture levels in the 70-80 percentiles in January fell to the 5-20 percentiles by October.

January Soil Moisture Percentiles
October Soil Moisture Percentiles

Quiet Summer Severe Weather Season

After very active severe weather seasons in 2010 and 2011, a much quieter season was seen in 2012. Shown below are maps from the Storm Prediction Center of the number of Tornado Watches issued per county (upper left), the number of Severe Thunderstorm Watches issued per county (upper right), the departure from normal of Tornado Watches (bottom left) and the departure from normal of Severe Thunderstorm Watches (bottom right) for 2010, 2011 and 2012. As can been seen, 2010 and 2011 had highly above average Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Watch issuances (red and pink shadding in the bottom graphs) indicative of the active seasons, in some cases as much as 10 watch issuances above normal. However, with drought conditions in place, a below average severe weather season was seen across North Dakota in 2012.

2012 Severe Weather Season
2011 Severe Weather Season
2010 Severe Weather Season


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