What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago, the Upper Mississippi River Valley (along with much of Midwest) had one of their warmest Marches ever recorded.  Record high temperatures were established or tied on 9 days in La Crosse, WI and 8 days in Rochester, MN during March of 2012.  This March is a totally different story with temperatures running primarily below normal.  The following reasons explain why this March is so much colder than last March.

  1. More snow:  During March of 2012, much of the region was snow free.  In contrast, the snow depth for this March is ranging from just a trace to 19 inches.
  2. Winds Aloft:  During the 2012 March, high pressure over the Tennessee & Ohio Valleys kept warm, southerly winds across the area.  This March, the winds have been primarily from the northwest;  thus, colder Canadian air.

More specifics on the contrast between March of 2012 and March of 2013 can be found below.

La Crosse, WI

Through March 30th, La Crosse, WI has had below-normal temperatures on 27 of 29 days.  The average temperature is 25.4 degrees which is 8.4 degrees below the 1981-2010 normal.  This is tied with 1943 and 1956 for the 14th coldest March through this date and the coldest since 1975 (24.2 degrees).  The coldest March through this date was back in 1899 when the average temperature was 21.2 degrees.

In contrast in March of 2012, the average temperature through this date was 50.6 degrees or 25.2 degrees warmer than this March. This was the warmest March ever through this date easily surpassing March of 1878 (47.2 degrees) by 3.4 degrees.

A comparison of temperatures between March 2012 & March 2013

Rochester, MN

Through March 30th, Rochester, MN has had below-normal temperatures on 26 of 30 days.  The average temperature is 23.6 degrees which is 8.6 degrees below the 1981-2010 normal.  This is the 12th coldest March through this date and the coldest start since 1984 (23.0 degrees).  The coldest March through this date was back in 1888 when the average temperature was 17.1 degrees.

In contrast in March of 2012, the average temperature through this date was 49.3 degrees or 25.7 degrees warmer than this March.  It was the warmest March ever through this date beating the previous record by 6.5 degrees (42.8 degrees in 1910). 

A comparison of temperatures between March 2012 & March 2013 in Rochester, MN

 



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