Remembering the Warmth of March 2012

A Look Back at March 2012

 

Temperatures across the region for the first 12 days of March 2013 have averaged 2 to 3 degrees below normal. This is in sharp contrast to the record breaking warmth that happened during the same period of March 2012, when temperatures averaged 6 to 8 degrees above normal. March 2012 continued to break numerous temperature records as the early spring warmth persisted. So far, the cooler temperatures have kept early blooming fruit trees and plant growth dormant. The latest forecast and outlooks continue to favor that March 2013 may indeed remain at least slightly cooler than normal.

The following is an in-depth summary of the very warm temperatures that enveloped the region back in 2012...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

The long stretch of record-breaking temperatures across the area ended on Thursday, March 22nd as a low pressure system from the Plains moved across the region and brought showers and thunderstorms. With record temperatures for the past nine days, we take a look back at climate records for Fort Wayne and South Bend to see how unusual this month is shaping up to be.

The record warmest temperature ever recorded in March at Fort Wayne was set on Wednesday March 21st.  The high temperature hit 87 degrees which broke the previous record of 86 degrees from 03/24/1910.  South Bend tied the record warmest march day with a high temperature of 85 degrees.

Fort Wayne

The average temperature for the month of March at Fort Wayne was 52.6 degrees, which is 14.2 degrees above the normal value of 38.4 degrees and the warmest average temperature for March on record by 4.5 degrees.  The previous record was 48.1 degrees in 1946. The chart below depicts the record high temperature and the normal high temperature for the period of March 14-22.

Date Record High and Year Normal High Record Broken? New Record
14th 78 in 1995 47 yes 79
15th 75 in 1977 and 1995
48 yes 81
 16th 77 in 1945
48 yes 78
17th 71 in 1945, 1966, 2003, and 2009
49 yes 76
18th 75 in 1903
49 yes 77
19th 76 in 1921
49 yes 83
20th 76 in 1918
50 yes 84
21st 81 in 1907
50 yes 87
22nd 83 in 1907 51 yes 83
23rd 76 in 1910 51 no  

Note: With the high temperature of 81 on the 15th, this marks the earliest 81 degree day in the calendar year on record at Fort Wayne. With the high temperature of 83 on the 19th, this marks the earliest 83 degree day in the calendar year on record at Fort Wayne. With the high temperature of 84 on the 20th, this marks the earliest 84 degree day in the calendar year on record at Fort Wayne.

Record high temperatures were set for 9 consecutive days at Fort Wayne. This beat the previous longest streak of consecutive record high temperatures at Fort Wayne of 7 which occured from July 8-14, 1936.

The chart below depicts the record high minimum temperatures and the normal low temperatures from March 15th through March 22nd.

Date Record Warm Low and Year Normal Low Record Broken? New Record
15th 51 in 1990
28
yes 57
 16th 56 in 1919
29 no  
17th 50 in 1903
29 no  
18th 54 in 1903 and 1905
29 yes 55
19th 59 in 1903
30 no  
20th 59 in 1921
30 no  
21st 60 in 1907
30 no  
22nd 58 in 1938 31 no  

As of March 22nd, Fort Wayne had reached at least 70 degrees for 10 consecutive days, which tied for the longest streak in the month of March on record. The 13 seventy plus degree days in March at Fort Wayne was the most total 70+ degree days in the month of March on record.

Consecutive 70+ Degree Days in March

Number of Days Year
10 1910 and 2012
9 1907
5 1983 and 1990

Total 70+ Degree Days in March

Number of Days Year
13 2012
10 1910
9 1907
7 2007
6 1945
5 1976, 1983, 1990, 1995, and 1998

Total 80+ Degree Days in March

Number of Days Year
5 2012
4 1910
3 1907
1 1905, 1938, 1939, 1981, and 1983

With temperatures far above normal, many plants and trees began to bloom.  March 2012 saw 226 growing degree days which is the all time record for the month of March.  The previous record number of growing degree days in March was 126 in 1910

Temperatures 30 degrees above normal did not last forever and statistics were compiled to examine the threat for below freezing temperatures and plant killing (28 degrees) temperatures in April and May.  These numbers were compared to past years when March saw at least five 70 degree or greater days.

 

Number of Days with a Minimum Temperature of 32 Degrees or Below in Years following a March with 5 or Greater Days above 70 Degrees

 

Year April May June Total Days Lowest Temp
1907 16 4 0 20 20
1910 8 9 1 18 14
1945 7 2 0 9 28
1968 9 1 0 10  25
1976 11 2 0 13 23
1983 7 0 0 7 21
1989 10 0 0 10  19
1990 12 0 0 12  23
1995 6 0 0 6 16
1998 5 0 0 5  29
2007 12 0 0 12  20
2012 7 0 0 7 28
Average (1897-Present)
8 0.6 0 8.6  

 

Number of Days with a Minimum Temperature of 28 Degrees or Below in Years following a March with 5 or Greater Days above 70 Degrees

 

Year April May Total Days
1907 10 0 10
1910 2 2 4
1945 0 1 1
1968 2 0 2
1976 5 0 5
1983 3 0 3
1989 4 0 4
1990 7 0 7
1995 2 0 2
1998 0 0 0
2007 7 0 7
2012 3 0 3
Average (1897-present) 3.6 0.1 3.7

We also took a look at summers following a warm March to see if any discernible pattern could be observedThe data shows temperatures remarkably near normal during the summer months of these years with a warm March.  The table below shows the average temperature for the summer months following a March with 5 or more 70+ degree days. 

Average Temperatures for summer months in years when March saw 5 or more 70+ degree days.

Total Days March 70+ Year Mar Jun Jul Aug Annual
13 2012 52.6 72.1 79.4 70.3 ?
10 1910*
50.3
65.5
75.8
 70.8 50.8
9 1907* 44.6  66.9  72.3  69.8  49.1
 7  2007 43
 71.5  71.8  74.2 51.3
 6  1945  47.9  65.6  70.6  70.5  48.4
 5  1976  43.6  71.2  72.9  69  49
 5  1983  41 72 78.8
78.3
 52.3
 5  1990  42  69.5 71.9
 69.8  52
 5  1995  41.3 71.8
 75.1  78.3  50.4
5 1998 39.7 69.8 71.5 71.8 53.3
 Averages (excluding 2012)
   43.7  69.3  73.4  70.2 50.7
 Current Normals
  38.4
70.1
 73.6 71.3
50.4
 Departure from Normal
  5.3
-0.8
 -0.2  1.0 0.3

*Missing data in 1907 and 1910.


 

South Bend

The average temperature for the month of March at South Bend was 52.8 degrees, which is 15.3 degrees above the normal of 37.5 degrees. This is 5.4 degrees above the previous record warmest March on record which was 47.4 degrees in 1946. The chart below depicts the record high temperature and the normal high temperature for the period of March 14 to March 22nd.

Date Record High and Year Normal High Record Broken?
New Record
14th 76 in 1990 and 1995 46 yes 81
15th 76 in 1935
46 yes 81
16th 77 in 1945
47 yes 79
17th 75 in 1894
47 yes

78

18th 76 in 1903
47 yes 77
19th 77 in 1921
48 yes 79
20th 76 in 1921
48 yes
83
21st 79 in 1938
49  yes 85
22nd 81 in 1938 49  yes 83
23rd 78 in 1907 49  no  

Note: The daily average temperature on the 15th at South Bend was 72 degrees. This is tied for the warmest average daily temperature on record during the first three months of the calendar year. The average temperature was also 72 degrees on March 26th, 2007.

Record high temperatures were set for 9 consecutive days at South Bend.  This is the second longest streak of consecutive record high temperatures at South Bend. The longest streak is 10 consecutive days of record temperatures which occured from July 7-16, 1936.

The chart below depicts the record high minimum temperatures and the normal low temperatures from March 15th through March 22nd.

Date Record Warm Low and Year Normal Low Record Broken?
New Record
15th 48 in 1946, 1977, and 1990 28
yes 63
 16th 57 in 1935 28 no  
17th 47 in 1894 and 1946 29 yes 55
18th 58 in 1894 29 yes 61
19th 61 in 1903 29 no  
20th 62 in 1921 30 yes  65
21st 51 in 1894 30 yes 62
22nd 61 in 1938 30 no  


Through March 22nd, South Bend reached at least 70 degrees for 9 consecutive days, which is the 2nd such longest streak in the month of March on record. Also, South Bend reached at least 70 degrees 10 days in March, which the second most days in the month of March on record.

Consecutive 70+ Degree Days in March

Number of Days Year
10  1910
9 2012
6 1945, and 2007
4 1938, 1983, 1986, and 1995

Total 70+ Degree Days in March

Number of Days Year
11  1910
10 2012
8 1945
6 2007
5 1907, 1921, 1938, 1976, and 1986

 

Total 80+ Degree Days in March

Number of Days Year
5 2012
3 1910
2 1907 and 1986
1 1938, 1945, 1963, 1981 and 2000

 

With temperatures far above normal, many plants and trees began to bloom.  March 2012 saw 231 growing degree days which is the most all time for the month of March.  

Temperatures 30 degrees above normal did not last forever and statistics were compiled to examine the threat for below freezing temperatures and plant killing (28 degrees) temperatures in April and May.  These numbers were compared to past years when March saw at least five 70 degree or greater days.

 

Number of Days with a Minimum Temperature of 32 Degrees or Below in Years following a March with 5 or Greater Days above 70 Degrees

 

Year April May Total Days Lowest Temp
1907 21 7 28 17
1910 10 3 13 26
1921 6 0 6 26
1938 12 M 12 20
1945 7 2 9 27
1976 11 1 12 26
1986 9 1 10 22
2007 12 0 12 22
2012 8 0 8 27
Average(1894-Present) 9.3 0.9 10.2  

 

Number of Days with a Minimum Temperature of 28 Degrees or Below in Years following a March with 5 or Greater Days above 70 Degrees

Year April May Total Days
1907 15 1 16
1910 5 0 5
1921 4 0 4
1938 8 M 8
1945 2 1 3
1976 3 0 3
1986 2 0 2
2007 9 0 9
2012 2 0 2
Average (1894-Present) 4.6 0.1  

 

We also took a look at summers following a warm March to see if any discernible pattern could be observedThe data shows temperatures remarkably near normal during the summer months of these years with a warm March.  The table below shows the average temperature for the summer months following a March with 5 or more 70+ degree days. 

Average Temperatures for summer months in years when March saw 5 or more 70+ degree days.

Total Days March 70+ Year Mar Jun Jul Aug Annual
11 1910 46.7 66.7 75.1 71.4 48.9
10 2012 52.8 71.5 79.5 70.2 ?
8 1945 47.3 64.5 70.7 70.1 48.1
8 2012 ? ? ? ? ?
6 2007 42.4 71.3 72.2 73 51.1
5 1907 41.7 65.3 71 68.9 47.4
5 1921 45.3 74.6 80 71.2 53.3
5 1938 44 M M M M
5 1976 43.6 70.9 72.8 69 49
5 1986 40.3 67.7 74.8 67.5 49.8
Averages (excluding 2012)
43.9 43.9 68.7 73.8 70.2 49.7
Current Normals 37.5 37.5 69.1 73.0 71.3 49.7
Departure from Normal 6.4 6.4 -0.4 0.8 -1.1 0.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bentley/Obergfell/NG
Last updated: 10:00 am 11/26/2012



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