March 2012 Weather Summary

 MARCH 2012 FEATURED RECORD BREAKING WARM TEMPERATURES AND BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION

The unseasonably warm weather pattern continued over the Midwest in March with many areas seeing near record or record breaking warm temperatures. In Peoria, the mean temperature for the month was 55.4 degrees or 14.8 degrees above normal, the warmest March on record. Peoria's highest temperature for March was 82 degrees recorded on March 21st.  Several record warm low temperatures were set at Peoria for the month, but the most noteworthy was a 66 degree reading set on March 21st.  Just to give you an idea how unusual this warm pattern has been, the normal HIGH temperature at Peoria doesn't reach 66 degrees until the middle of April!  Precipitation for the month of March in Peoria totaled 1.51 inches, which was 1.29 inches below normal for the month. Further south in Springfield, the mean temperature for the month was 57.3 degrees, or 15.2 degrees above normal, the warmest March on record. Precipitation in Springfield for the month of March totaled 1.68 inches which was 0.95 inches below normal for the month. 

The maps below are courtesy of the Midwest Regional Climate Center , showing the average temperature and accumulated precipitation/percent of mean(departure from normal) for March 2012 The third figure below is a multi-sensor precipitation map based on National Weather Service (NWS) radar data and hourly gage data processed by 12 NWS River Forecast Centers. The data are combined into a 4-km resolution national grid and archived by the NWS. The 24-hour, 7-day and 30-day precipitation fields are valid for the morning (1200 GMT) of the indicated date. For more information, visit the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service web site. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Records   

Tables below list March 14-21 record high and warm low temperatures for selected area cities.  "+" indicates record also tied in previous years.  Numbers in parentheses are temperatures observed in 2012 with red numbers indicating a new record set or tied.  Data from Springfield and Peoria is collected from the Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) at each airport.  Lincoln's data is collected at the National Weather Service Office.  All other data is courtesy of volunteer National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Observers (COOP).  

Sites with long term records dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s were chosen.  With this long period of record it is a rare occurrence to break a record (most sites only break a few record high temperatures in an entire year).  However as data below show, it was quite common during this historic warm spell with most sites breaking records six or more of the eight days.

Record Highs:     

City Wednesday
March 14
Thursday
March 15
Friday
March 16
Saturday
March 17
Sunday
March 18
Monday
March 19

Tuesday
March 20

Wednesday
March 21
Charleston** 78 in 2007
(81)
78 in 1921+
(78)
80 in 1945
(77)
76 in 1940
(81)
76 in 1903
(80)
81 in 1907
(82)
82 in 1948
(83)
86 in 1907
(85)
Danville** 76 in 2007
(80)
78 in 1921
(81)
80 in 1945
(81)
76 in 1940
(79)
78 in 1918
(80)
80 in 1903
(81)
79 in 1921+
(83)
80 in 1918
(84)
Decatur 78 in 2007 
(78
78 in 1995 
(79)
84 in 1945 
(76)
82 in 1894 
(78)
78 in 1918
(78)
83 in 1921
(78)
83 in 1921
(80)
82 in 1997+
(80)
Effingham* 81 in 2007 
(79)
79 in 2007 
(82)
76 in 1995 
(77)
76 in 1995 
(76)
76 in 1989
(81)
75 in 1969
(80)
74 in 1972
(81)
79 in 1966
(83)
Galesburg* 74 in 1971 
(72)
73 in 1995 
(78)
78 in 1945 
(80)
76 in 1903 
(79)
76 in 1903
(79)
75 in 1976
(80)
74 in 1966
(79)
79 in 1938
(80)
Jacksonville* 81 in 1990 
(80)
79 in 1945+ 
(84)
86 in 1945 
(84)
81 in 1945 
(77)
78 in 1918
(80)
79 in 1921
(79)
84 in 1935
(80)
91 in 1907
(82)
Lincoln 77 in 1933 
(82)
78 in 1935 
(83)
82 in 1945 
(79)
76 in 1940 
(79)
80 in 1918
(81)
79 in 1921
(81)
83 in 1921
(83)
80 in 1918
(84)
Normal* 76 in 2007
(78)
76 in 2007+ 
(81)
80 in 1945 
(83)
82 in 1894 
(81)
79 in 1903
(82)
78 in 1921+
(82)
80 in 1921
(83)
88 in 1907
(84)
Olney* 80 in 2007 
(81)
78 in 1995+ 
(84)
84 in 1945 
(78)
76 in 1989+ 
(76)
76 in 1979+
(83)
82 in 1907
(82)
81 in 1948
(85)
86 in 1907
(85)
Peoria 76 in 1995 
(81
77 in 1935  
(81)
80 in 1945 
(78)
80 in 1894 
(78)
79 in 1903
(81)
79 in 1921
(81)
79 in 1921
(81)
87 in 1907
(82)
Springfield 75 in 2007+ 
(83)
79 in 1995+ 
(83)
82 in 1945 
(79)
79 in 1894 
(79)
77 in 1886
(80)
80 in 1907
(81)
81 in 1921
(82)
91 in 1907
(82)
Urbana 78 in 2007
(81)
76 in 1995
(81)
78 in 1945
(79)
79 in 1945
(81)
75 in 1918+
(80)
77 in 1921+
(81)
79 in 1921
(82)
85 in 1907
(83)
* Sites report at 6 AM or 7 AM.  
**Sites report at 6 PM.
Other sites report at midnight.

 

Record Warm Lows:

City Wednesday
March 14
Thursday
March 15
Friday
March 16
Saturday
March 17
Sunday
March 18
Monday
March 19

Tuesday
March 20

Wednesday
March 21
Lincoln 56 in 1990 
(53)
54 in 1919 
(59)
57 in 1919 
(52)
57 in 1945 
(53)
50 in 2003
(53)
61 in 1921
(59)
63 in 1921
(58)
53 in 2011
(60)
Peoria 58 in 1990 
(54)
54 in 1919 
(58)
50 in 1936 
(56)
56 in 1894 
(58)
59 in 1903
(57)
61 in 1921
(63)
52 in 1894
(63)
57 in 1894
(66)
Springfield 59 in 1990 
(58)
58 in 1919 
(59)
55 in 1946 
(56)
54 in 1894 
(60)
60 in 1903
(58)
62 in 1921
(66)
57 in 1894
(65)
55 in 2011
(63)


Interesting Stats
  

  • Urbana's record high of 81 on March 14th was the earliest 80+ degree high temperature in a calendar year.
  • Normal's record high of 81 on March 15th was the earliest 80+ degree high temperature in a calendar year.
  • Galesburg's record high of 80 on March 16th was the earliest 80+ degree high temperature in a calendar year.
  • Springfield's record warm low of 66 on March 19th broke the all time March record warm low of 65 on March 30th, 1998.
  • Peoria's record warm low of 66 on March 21st broke the all time March record warm low of 64 on March 30th, 1998.
  • Peoria had six days with 80+ degree high temperatures for the month.  This breaks the old record of five days in 1907 and 1910.
  • Lincoln had six days with 80+ degree high temperatures for the month.  This breaks the old record of four days in 1910.
  • Springfield had 6 days with 80+ degree high temperatures for the month.  This ranks second behind the record of seven days in 1907.
  • Urbana had seven days with 80+ degree high temperatures for the month.  This breaks the old record of four days in 1907.

 

Winds at ground level and up at 30,000 feet...

March is typically one of the windiest months of the year as the battle of the air masses takes place over the Midwest, and this month was no different. Several strong weather systems brought some rather gusty winds to the state during the month of March. During the first week of the month, several areas around central and east central Illinois had wind gusts of 50 to 55 mph.  A few of the stronger weather systems that affected parts of central, east central and southeast Illinois not only brought gusty winds to the area but also prompted severe weather watches, focused mainly across southeast Illinois. Speaking of wind, the images below depict the jet stream configuration at 300 mb (~30,000 feet) for the first and last weeks of March. Notice how unusally far north the jet was displaced, as was the case through most of the "winter months", keeping the snow and very cold temperatures well off to our northwest. The pattern depicted below is more typical of June and July, not March!

 

 

 

 

The preliminary climate summaries for March 2012 are listed below. Only the summaries for Peoria, Springfield, and Lincoln are considered to be official climatological summaries.  The remaining 4 sites are "supplemental", meaning another station in the area is the official climatological station for that location.

 

  

 



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