Record Warm March

March 2012 was a record month at Indianapolis, becoming the warmest March on record. March 2012 was the first month to set a high average temperature record since August of 1936. Persistent high pressure across the eastern USA allowed a southerly flow of warm air to continue through a long stretch of the month.

 

Average Departure from Normal Temperatures for Midwest

The above is a plot of how much above normal average temperatures were for March. The map is courtesy of the Midwest Climate Center.

During the unseasonably warm weather that began March 12 and continued through March 22, temperatures each day averaged more than 20 degrees above normal. Most days during this period were more typical of late May and early June, or similar to March weather in Tampa, Florida. 

Because of the warm winter and the sudden onset of extended early summer weather, vegetation sprang to life overnight.  Early spring flowers bloomed very quickly and faded in a couple of days.  Tulips, lilacs, flowering bushes and trees were in full bloom during the last week of March.  Many trees were budding including oaks.  Lawn mowers were heard everywhere as grasses grew quickly.  The outdoors was typical of early May than late March.

Daily temperature records were set on 7 days out of an 8 day stretch.  For the 11 day period from March 12 through March 22 the average temperature was 68.5 degrees ... 4.2 degrees above the 11 day record warmth of March 21-31, 2007.  Additionally, this was the warmest 11 day stretch to begin a year before the date of April 20.

The average temperature for March 2012 exceed the record average temperature of March 1910 by more than 4 degrees.  To quote what Weather Bureau officials stated in March 1910, "Never since the Weather Bureau was established has there been such an early opening of spring."   This statement may become true for Indiana, the Midwest and much of the eastern continental United States for March 2012.

The U.S. Weather Bureau became the National Weather Service in 1970.  Weather records at Indianapolis began in 1871.

List of Records set at Indianapolis in March 2012: 

Date

New Max Temperature Records

New High Minumum Temperature Records

March 14

81

 
March 15

80

 
March 17

77

 
March 18

80

Tied record, 60

March 19

82

64

March 20

83

63

March 21

84

62

 

Other records set in March for Indianapolis:

  • Most days in March with highs 60 or above: 23 
  • Most consecutive days in March with highs 70 or above: 11
  • Most days in March with highs 70 or above: 14
  • Most consecutive days in March with highs 80 or above: 5
  • Most days in March with highs 80 or above: 7

The all time record high temperature for March is 85 degrees, set on March 31, 1981.  The highest reached in March 2012 was 84 degrees, recorded on the 21st.

Below is a plot of daily temperatures for March 2012 at Indianapolis:

March 2012 Temperature Plot


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