...Record March Temperatures...

The recent spell of extremely warm conditions have brought on the rapid growth and development of nearly all types of vegetation across the Lower Missouri River Valley.  Daily records have been smashed over much of the country, and even in the local area.  If you would like to see records mapped across the entire country throughout this rapid spring thaw, please use the NCDC viewer below.
 

If your curious about records across the country please visit the NCDC Records Viewer. Please visit the site directly).

March 2012 will be the warmest March ever recorded in Kansas City with an average temperature of 58.4 degrees. Kansas City is not the only site that experienced the warmest March ever, with St. Joseph, Kirksville and Sedalia all smashing their previous record temperatures.  To put these records in perspective, our average high temperatures on the 31st is only 61 degrees. 

Kansas City also broke two daily max temperature records.  On March 14, a record of 82 degrees which tied the previous record of 82 degrees set in 1935.  On March 16, Kansas City reached 82 degrees which broke the previous max temperature of 79 degrees set in 1945.

 

Average March Temperatures Through March 31st
Kansas City* (Data from 1888)
St. Joseph Kirksville Sedalia * (Data from 1997)

Rank  Value  Ending Date
  1    58.4    2012
  2    58.3    1910
  3    55.6    1946
  4    52.6    2007
  5    52.1    1907, 1938
  7    51.7    1945
  8    51.2    1935
  9    50.9    1921
  10   50.8    1905,1918

Rank  Value  Ending Date
  1    57.5    2012
  2    54.0    1946
  3    50.6    2007, 1945, 1938
  6    49.7    1918
  7    49.2    1966
  8    49.0    1935
  9    48.9    1973
 10   48.8    1921
Rank  Value  Ending Date
  1    54.3    2012
  2    48.1    2007
  3    45.9    1973
  4    44.9    2000
  5    44.0    1963, 2004
  7    43.7    1968
  8    43.4    1966
  9    42.3    1967
 10    42.2    2009
Rank  Value  Ending Date
  1    60.8    2012
  2    48.0    2004
  3    47.8    2000
  4    47.2    2010
  5    47.1    2006
  6    46.9    2009
  7    46.5    2011
  8    46.2    1997
  9    45.4    2003
 10    44.0    2005
 

  The images below from the Midwest Regional Climate Center graphically depict how warm the past two months have been in nation's midsection.

Departures from Normal - February and March

 

This warm weather brings us to another critical problem; the rapid growth of trees, plants, and other Spring vegetation.  Even with the very warm February and March across the region, we must remember that near to below freezing temperatures may still occur as we head into April.  One of the more recent rapid spring warmups, and April freezes occurred only a few years ago in April of 2007. A record cold snap from April 4-10, 2007 produced massive agricultural damage to the state of Missouri.  According to horticulture experts, estimated commercial losses resulting from this severe freeze topped $400 million in the state of Missouri alone. For more information on this freeze, please visit the University of Missouri Division of Plant Sciences for further details.

Needless to say, very early-blooming plants, flowers, fruit trees, and even crops will be susceptible to a freeze, especially if temperatures to 28 °F or colder (a “hard freeze”) or if the freeze occurs on more than one day.  Given the degree of growth in portions of the state, preventative measures may need to be taken for even more sensitive vegetation (fruit trees and tender ground fruits) if temperatures approach the 32-34 degree mark for an extended period of time.

Here are the average last freeze days across the Pleasant Hill forecast area.

 

Average Last Spring/First Fall Freeze Dates

City (period of record) Spring Fall
Amity (1946 – present) April 20 Oct 15
Atchison KS (1893- current) April 14 Oct 20
Bethany (1893 – current) April 23 Oct 9
Boonville (1938 – current) April 9 Oct 26
Brookfield (1942 – current) April 17 Oct 16
Brunswick (1890 – current) April 15 Oct 19
Butler (1946 – current) April 17 Oct 17
Carrollton (1893 – current) April 16 Oct 18
Chillicothe (1980 – current) April 14 Oct 17
Clinton (1907 – current) April 17 Oct 18
Grant City (1902 – current) April 23 Oct 13
Hamilton (1954 – present) April 26 Oct 11
Harrisonville (1893 – current) April 16 Oct 21
Kansas City (1888 – current) April 8

Oct 28

Kirksville (1893 – current) April 22 Oct 12
Leavenworth (1892 – current) April 14 Oct 20
Lees Summit (1962 – current) April 13 Oct 17
Lexington (1892 – current) April 12 Oct 21
Macon (1899 – current) April 20 Oct 17
Marshall (1893 – current) April 15 Oct 19
Maryville (1895 – current) April 23 Oct 12
Moberly (1936 – current) April 14 Oct 22
Mound City KS (1950 – current) April 19 Oct 16
New Franklin (1956 – current) April 13 Oct 18
Nevada (1898 – current) April 14 Oct 18
Olathe (1893 – current) April 16 Oct 23
Oregon (1893 – current) April 19 Oct 18
Paola (1895 – current) April 18 Oct 17
Princeton (1893 – current) April 23 Oct 10
Salisbury (1946 – current) April 16 Oct 17
Sedalia (1893 – current) April 16 Oct 17
St Joseph (1908 – present) April 15 Oct 18
Sweet Springs (1941 – current) April 17 Oct 15
Tarkio (1912 – current) April 24 Oct 10
Trenton (1896 – current) April 18 Oct 17
Troy KS (1950 – current) April 17 Oct 16
Unionville (1893 – current) April 23 Oct 13
Warrensburg (1899 – current) April 14 Oct 21
Windsor (1893 – current) April 16 Oct 19

Average Last Freeze - 32F (Spring)
Average Last Freeze - 32F (Spring)

Average Last Hard Freeze - 28F (Spring)
Average Last Hard Freeze - 28F (Spring)

 

 

Currently Kansas City International had their last freeze on March 10th, which would tie the record for the earliest last freeze date. However, the chances that this will hold are actually quite slim. Interestingly enough, there is very little correlation between warm winters and last freeze dates. In fact, in winters reaching 100 Growing Degree Days prior to April 1st, nearly 93% of those years reached at or below 32 degrees afterwards. Even more impressively, nearly 60% of those years had a damaging freeze (27 degrees or colder) after April 1st.

The Top 10 Earliest Last Freeze Dates in Kansas City: Top 10 Shortest Winter Lengths in Kansas City
1946 March 10
1925 March 15
1895 March 21
2010 March 22
1963 March 22
1927 March 22
1981 March 23
2006 March 24
1998 March 24
1971/1906 March 25
1976 157
1995 161
1909 163
1935 172
1987 173
1985 174
1986 174
2000 176
1966 177
1952 178

There is also very little correlation between warm winters and last freeze dates. Compare the years above with the following table showing the Top 10 Shortest Winter Lengths in Kansas City, measured in number of days between first and last 32 degree temperatures. 

 



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