March 1-19, 2012: Warmest Start to March on Record at Grand Island and Hastings!

It should come as little surprise that through March 19th, this was the warmest start to March on record across much of the area, including Grand Island and Hastings.  Data for Grand Island follows first, with Hastings information listed further down.


 ...Grand Island, Nebraska (March 1-19, 2012)...

At Central Nebraska Regional Airport, the average daily high temperature was 66.5 degrees and the average daily low temperature was 35.3 degrees, resulting in an overall daily average temperature of 50.8 degrees.  This broke the previous mark for the warmest first 19 days of March on record, set 91 years ago in 1921.  The following table lists the Top 5 Warmest First 19 days of March on record based on average daily tempeature, with records dating back 116 years to 1896.

Avg Daily Temp

Year

50.8

2012

50.1

1921

47.0

1910

43.7

1992 & 1946

43.4

1936


Within this warm start, by far the most remarkable stretch was the 7-day period of March 12-18th. During this stretch, daily highs ranged from 77-84 degrees, or from 28 to 32 degrees above normal.  These highs were more typical of late May through mid June.  Daily highs during this stretch averaged 80.1 degrees, and lows averaged 43.7 degrees, for an overall average of 61.9 degrees.  Although this fell just short of being the overall warmest week of March on record, it was by far the warmest week of March that ended on or before the 18th of the month.  The following table lists the Top 5 Warmest, Non-Overlapping Weeks of March on record that ENDED ON OR BEFORE THE 18th of the month, and is based on average daily temperature.

Avg Temp Over The Week

Year

61.9

March 12-18, 2012

53.9

March 12-18, 1995

53.2

March 12-18, 2003

52.7

March 1-7, 1921

51.7

March 1-7, 1992


The following table lists the Overall Warmest, Non-Overlapping Weeks of March on record for the ENTIRE month, based on average daily temperature.

Avg Temp Over The Week

Year

65.7

March 23-29, 1910

62.1

March 21-27, 1907

61.9

March 12-18, 2012

61.1

March 25-31, 1986

60.3

March 23-29, 2007


So far this month, 3 daily temperature records have been broken at Grand Island.

Date

New Record Temperatures

Previous  Record

March 16

Record High - 83

80 in 2009

March 17

Record High - 84

81 in 1994

March 17

Record Warm Low - 57

54 in 1986

 
Based on current forecast projections through the end of the month, March 2012 is on pace to finish either as the warmest or 2nd warmest March on record, with the current record belonging to March 1910 with an overall daily average temeprature of 52.7 degrees.  This page will be updated around April 1st with the final monthly ranking.

Finally, given this recent warmth, there is concern over spring vegetation being more prone that usual to a damaging freeze.  Although there are no sub-freezing temperatures in sight through the next week, historical averages suggest that we are by no means out of the woods.  Based on 30-year normals from 1981-2010, the average last date of falling to 28 degrees or colder is April 13th, and the average last date of falling to 32 degrees or colder is April 25th.  However, just in the last 30 years, a hard freeze of 28 degrees or colder has occurred twice during the first week of May.  The most recent was May 3, 2005, when the temperature dropped to 25 degrees.  May temperatures down to at least 32 degrees have occurred in 7 of the last 30 years, most recently on May 8, 2010, when temperatures dropped to 32 degrees.  


 
...Hastings, Nebraska (March 1-19, 2012)...

At Hastings Municipal Airport, the average daily high temperature was 65.7 degrees and the average daily low temperature was 34.6 degrees, resulting in an overall daily average temperature of 50.2 degrees.  This broke the previous mark for the warmest first 19 days of March on record, set 102 years ago in 1910.  The following table lists the Top 5 Warmest First 19 Days of March on record based on average daily temperature, with records dating back 104 years to 1908.

Avg Daily Temp

Year

50.2

2012

47.1

1910

46.0

1936

45.0

1992

44.9

1921


Within this warm start, by far the most remarkable stretch was the 7-day period from March 12-18th.  During this stretch, daily highs ranged from 75-83 degrees, or from 27 to 31 degrees above normal.  These highs were more typical of late May through mid June.  Daily highs during this stretch averaged 78.7 degrees and daily lows averaged 43.9 degrees, for an overall average of 61.3 degrees.  Although this fell just short of being the overall warmest week of March on record, it was by far the warmest week of March that ended on or before the 18th of the month.  The following table lists the Top 5 Warmest, Non-Overlapping Weeks of March on record that ENDED ON OR BEFORE THE 18th of the month, based on average daily temperature.

Avg Temp Over The Week

Year

61.9

March 12-18, 2012

54.3

March 12-18, 1995

53.7

March 12-18, 2003

53.2

March 10-16, 1946

53.1

March 1-7, 1992

 
The following table lists the Overall Warmest, Non-Overlapping Weeks of March on record for the ENTIRE month, based on average daily temperature.

Avg Temp Over The Week

Year

63.1

March 21-27, 1910

61.4

March 25-31, 1946

61.3

March 12-18, 2012

60.4

March 23-29, 2007

59.5

March 19-25, 1939


So far this month, 2 daily temperature records have been broken or tied at Hastings.

Date

New Record Temperatures

Previous Record

March 16

Record High - 80

79 in 2009

March 17

Record high - 83

83 in 1994


Based on current forecast projections through the end of the month, March 2012 is on pace to finish either as the warmest or 2nd warmest March on record, with the current record belonging to March 1910 with an overall daily average temperature of 52.0 degrees.  This page will be updated around April 1st with the final monthly ranking.

Finally, given this recent warmth, there is concern over spring vegetation being more prone than usual to a damaging freeze.  Although there are no sub-freezing temperatures in sight through the next week, historical average suggest that we are by no means out of the woods.  Based on 30-year normals from 1981-2010, the average last date of falling to 28 degrees or colder is April 14th, and the average last date of falling to 32 degrees or colder is April 24th.  However, just in the last 30 years, a hard freeze of 28 degrees or colder has occurred once during the first week of May, coming on May 3, 2005, when the temperature dropped to 28 degrees.

This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.



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