March 2009 Weather Summary

March of 2009 experienced wide swings in weather, from cold to warm, light snow or  freezing wintry precipitation to thunderstorms, to extreme winds.  The month began very cold with morning lows near zero on March 1st.  Grand Island had a low temperature of -1 degree, Hastings 2 degrees, and Kearney 1 degree.  By the 5th of the month, temperatures soared to record or near record highs in the 70s.  A winter storm system crossed the plains on the 7th, bringing areas of light freezing drizzle to south central Nebraska and portions of north central Kansas.  A strong cold front caused high temperatures to plummet to the 20s by the 10th, and areas of light freezing drizzle and sleet developed across south central Nebraska the evening of the 9th and continued through the morning of the 10th.  The wintry precipitation led to some slick spots on outdoor surfaces, but only accumulated trace amounts.  After the cold spell of a few days, temperatures soared well into the 70s to around 80 degrees on the 16th.  The mid to latter part of the month featured a nine day stretch of high temperatures averaging in the 60s and 70s from the 15th to the 23rd. 

An intense upper low pressure system lifted north across the plains on the 23rd, and this system created very windy conditions for a three day period.   South winds were strong ahead of the system on the 22nd, and wind speeds increased further on the 23rd with gusts near 60 mph.  Winds remained strong on the 24th, this time from the west northwest on the back side of the system.   A couple of fires developed and rapidly spread in the windy conditions.  In addition to the winds, severe thunderstorms produced damaging winds near 70 mph and hail to the size of half dollars on the 23rd.  The month ended on an active note as another strong system lifted northeast across the plains the night of the 30th into the morning of the 31st, producing some light snow and another day of gusty northwest winds.  The higher snowfall amounts of 0.8 to 2 inches were reported in Valley County at North Loup and Arcadia. 

The temperature swings from warm to cold left overall monthly temperatures fairly close to normal for Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney, NE.  Monthly precipitation averaged 1.90 inches to 2.01 inches below normal for the tri-cities.

  • March  5:  Grand Island tied its record high for the day.  Click here for the temperature record. 
  • Early March:  Sandhill cranes returned to the region and bird migration was captured on radar.  Click here for the migration story. 
  • March 23:  An intense low pressure system lifting across the plains brought extreme winds of 60 mph and severe thunderstorms.  Click here for information on the winds and storms.  Two fires also developed and quickly spread due to the intense winds.  The fires were captured on radar which can be viewed if you click here.
  • March 24:  Winds remain very strong and gusty on the back side of the storm system, this time from the west northwest.   Click here for the wind gusts.
  • March 31:  The month ended with another day of windy conditions and some light snow.   Click here for the wind gusts.




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