Cold temperatures lasted for about the entire month of March across southern Wisconsin and the western Great Lakes region. In fact, Madison experienced only four days during the month when the average temperature was at or above normal. Milwaukee experienced seven days during the month of March when the average temperature was at or above normal.
Madison finished off the month with an average temperature of 26.6 degrees. This was 7.4 degrees below the normal average temperature for the month of March. March 2013 goes in the books as the 18th coldest March in Madison, tied with 1940 and 1891. The coldest March on record was 1960, when the average temperature for the month was only 18.3 degrees.
Milwaukee ended up with an average temperature of 30.0 degrees for the month. This was 5.0 degrees below the normal average temperature for the month of March. March 2013 in Milwaukee ends up as the 38th coldest March. The coldest March on record was also 1960, when the average temperature for the month was 21.5 degrees.
Though these numbers aren't near record cold, they're in stark contrast to March of last year. March 2012 was the warmest March on record for both Madison and Milwaukee. Madison experienced an average temperature of 50.1 degrees. Milwaukee had an average temperature of 48.8 degrees.
Below are two graphs showing the high temperatures from last March; the normal high temperatures for this time of year; and the observed and forecast highs for this March for Milwaukee and Madison. The last image shows a comparison between the March average temperature and departure from average for 2012 and 2013.
For the March 2013 climate reports click here.