March 2012: Warmest March on Record Across Much of The Area!

March 2012 was hardly a "lion" across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas! All three of the Tri-Cities recorded their warmest March on record...with the vast majority of the 30-county NWS Hastings coverage area finishing with the warmest or 2nd-warmest March on record.

Listed below are several climate facts and a series of tables concerning March 2012 temperatures and (lack of) snowfall...

The primary table below reflects data for six chosen sites across the NWS Hastings coverage area with long periods of record. For each site, rankings are given for the Top-5 warmest Marches on record based on both AVERAGE DAILY TEMPERATURE and also AVERAGE DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURE. For monthly record purposes, the AVERAGE DAILY TEMPERATURE is used for "official" monthly rankings, since it accounts for both the average highs and average lows throughout the month. 

Here are some highlights that stand out from the data presented below, along with some additional comments:

1.) For all six sites, the AVERAGE DAILY TEMPERATURE during March 2012 ranked as the warmest or 2nd-warmest on record, with Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney and Loup City all finishing in the top spot. For nearly all locations, the year 1910 previously held (or still barely holds) the top spot for warmest March on record. 

2.) The record warmth during the month was very persistent, and not just attributed to an intense, short burst of above normal temperatures. For example, Grand Island reached or exceeded 70 degrees 16 times during the month.  At Grand Island, the average daily high was 69.2 degrees, which was a whopping 18.1 degrees above normal. The average daily low was 39.0 degrees, which was 11.4 degrees above normal. Averaging these two together, the overall average daily temperature of 54.1 degrees registered an incredible 14.7 degrees above normal! 
 

3.) The last time a monthly temperature record was established in south central Nebraska and north central Kansas was in January 2006, and was also for record warmth.   

4.) Despite the record-breaking warmth during the month, precipitation amounts unfortunately fell well short of normal across the vast majority of the NWS Hastings coverage area. Just in the Tri Cities, for example, Grand Island tallied only 0.83 inches for the month (normal is 1.80), Hastings totaled 0.86 inches (normal is 1.79) and Kearney totaled 1.02 inches (normal is 1.79 inches).

 

All-Time March Daily Temperature Extremes for Grand Island (Records Date to 1896):

Warmest High Temperature:  90 degrees on several occasions, most recently on March 29, 1986
Warmest Low Temperature:   64 degrees on March 19, 1921
Coldest Low Temperature:    -21 degrees on March 4, 1960
Coldest High Temperature:      4 degrees on March 10, 1948


During March 2012...

High temperatures at the Grand Island airport reached at least 70 degrees 16 times  (normal is 3 days)
High temperatures at the Hastings airport reached at least 70 degrees 15 times  (normal is 3 days)
High temperatures at the Kearney airport reached at least 70 degrees 15 times  (normal is 4 days)
High temperatures in Loup City reached at least 70 degrees 16 times  (normal is 3 days)
High temperatures in Holdrege reached at least 70 degrees 15 times  (normal is 3 days)
High temperatures in Smith Center, KS, reached at least 70 degrees 18 times  (normal is 5 days)




Top-5 Warmest Marches on Record...

For the following tables, temperature records date back to the following years:
Grand Island - 1896    
Hastings - 1908 (some days in 1921 and 1946 had missing data)   
Kearney - 1901 (some days in 1910 and 1921 had missing data)
Holdrege - 1901 
Loup City - 1902 (data for 1921 not available)    
Smith Center - 1912 (but missing 1925-1950)
Alton KS - 1903

Please note: An * in the table means that a few days during the month had missing max or min temps (and thus an incomplete official record), but the month was still included in the table for purposes of comparison, with the missing data assumed to have minimal impact on the overall monthly averages.

Warmest Marches 
On Record
(Average Daily Temperature)

GRAND ISLAND

Warmest Marches 
On Record
(Average High Temperature)

GRAND ISLAND

 

 Warmest Marches
 On Record
(Average Daily Temperature)

HASTINGS

Warmest Marches 
on Record
(Average High Temperature)

HASTINGS 

54.1 degrees - 2012

69.2 degrees - 2012

 

53.3 degrees - 2012

69.2 degrees - 1910

52.7 degrees - 1910

69.1 degrees - 1910

 

52.0 degrees - 1910

68.2 degrees - 2012

49.9 degrees - 1921

62.4 degrees - 1921

 

51.2 degrees - 1946*

63.2 degrees - 1946*

48.5 degrees - 1946

60.0 degrees - 1946

 

48.3 degrees - 2007

61.9 degrees - 1935

47.2 degrees - 2007

59.8 degrees - 1968

 

46.8 degrees - 1945

61.5 degrees - 1936

 

Warmest Marches 
On Record
(Average Daily Temperature)

KEARNEY

Warmest Marches
On Record
(Average High Temperature)

KEARNEY

 

 Warmest Marches
On Record
(Average Daily Temperature)

LOUP CITY

Warmest Marches 
On Record
(Average High Temperature)

LOUP CITY

52.9 degrees - 2012

71.1 degrees - 1910

 

50.7 degrees - 2012

68.7 degrees - 1910

52.0 degrees - 1910*

68.0 degrees - 2012

 

50.5 degrees - 1910

67.2 degrees - 2012

47.1 degrees - 1946

62.6 degrees - 1918

 

44.4 degrees - 2007

60.2 degrees - 1911

46.7 degrees - 2007, 1986

61.0 degrees - 1916

 

43.5 degrees - 1986

57.4 degrees - 1986

46.0 degrees - 1918

60.4 degrees - 1921, 1908

 

43.3 degrees - 1911

57.3 degrees - 2007

Warmest Marches
On Record
(Average Daily Temperature)

HOLDREGE

Warmest Marches 
On Record
(Average High Temperature)

HOLDREGE

 

 Warmest Marches 
On Record
(Average Daily Temperature)

ALTON, KS

Warmest Marches 
On Record
(Average High Temperature)

ALTON, KS

54.0 degrees - 1910

71.5 degrees - 1910

 

54.4 degrees - 1910

74.6 degrees - 1910

50.1 degrees - 2012

66.7 degrees - 2012

 

52.4 degrees - 2012

70.3 degrees - 2012

49.5 degrees - 1946

65.1 degrees - 1921

 

50.9 degrees - 1946, 1935

68.5 degrees - 1945

48.4 degrees - 1921

62.6 degrees - 1946

 

50.6 degrees - 1945

68.1 degrees - 1907

47.0 degrees - 1935

61.8 degrees - 1911

 

50.4 degrees - 1907

67.2 degrees - 1911


Please note: 

- For Grand Island and Hastings, all official data since the 1990's is based on automated ASOS equipment at the airports, which track high and low temperatures on a midnight-to-midnight "calendar day" basis. 

- For Kearney, official daily temperatures and precipitation amounts are recorded by the NWS Cooperative Observer located at the airport, and are based on a 24-hour period ending around 7 AM. However, for the purposes of computing monthly records and averages, this cooperative observer data often varies somewhat from true calendar day (midnight-to-midnight) temperature data, such as that recorded at Grand Island and Hastings. Therefore, in order to more realistically compare Kearney monthly temperature data to these other two Tri-Cities sites, the data presented here are based on unofficial calendar day averages from AWOS equipment located at Kearney Regional Airport. 

- For Loup City, Holdrege and Alton, all data presented here is strictly based on NWS Cooperative Observer observations, which are based on a 24-hour period ending around 7 AM.  As a result, the monthly temperature data presented here systematically vary somewhat from true calendar day (midnight-to-midnight) values such as those recorded by automated systems.



Lack of Snowfall During March 2012...

Following suit with the record to near-record warmth, snowfall totals for the month were also held down to nothing more than a Trace, if any at all. This is by no means unprecendented in the record books, and for some places this last occurred quite recently.  In locations such as Grand Island and Hastings, however,  it actually has been 15-20 years since this occurred.  Below is a listing of several chosen sites across the NWS Hastings coverage area, along with normal March snowfall, and the last time March failed to yield measurable snow (more than a Trace) ...

Location

Snowfall March 2012

Normal March Snowfall 
(1981-2010)

The Last March Without 
Measurable Snow

Grand Island

Trace

5.6 Inches

March 1997

Hastings

Zero

5.2 Inches

March 1992

Kearney

Zero

4.6 Inches

March 2008

Osceola

Zero

5.2 Inches

March 1997

Loup City

Zero

5.9 Inches

March 2007

Holdrege

Zero

5.2 Inches

March 2008

Hebron

Zero

4.0 Inches

March 2009 

Smith Center, KS

Zero

2.6 Inches

March 2009

Beloit, KS

Zero

2.5 Inches

March 2009

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



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