U.S. records warmest March; more than 15,000 warm temperatrue records broken
Record and near-record breaking temperatures dominated the eastern two-thirds
of the nation and contributed to the warmest March on record for the contiguous
United States, a record that dates back to 1895. More than 15,000 warm
temperature records were broken during the month.The average temperature of
51.1°F was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average for March and 0.5°F warmer
than the previous warmest March in 1910. Of the more than 1,400 months (117+ years)
that have passed since the U.S. climate record began, only one month, January 2006,
has seen a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012.
Every state in the nation experienced at least one record warm daily temperature
during March. According to preliminary data, there were 15,272 warm temperature
records broken (7,755 daytime records, 7,517 nighttime records). Hundreds of
locations across the country broke their all-time March records. There were 21
instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing
record daytime temperature for a given date
A persistent weather pattern led to 25 states east of the Rockies having their
warmest March on record. An additional 15 states had monthly temperatures ranking
among their ten warmest. That same pattern brought cooler-than-average conditions
to the West Coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California.
MODIS Satellite imagery for the second week in April from 2008 to 2012 (April 5 - 9).
Notice the snow cover and ice covered lakes at this point in the spring over the past few
years. Also, notice the pronounced early green up in the last image, 2012.
Click on the image below to get a loop of the snow depth on April 9 (2007-2012):
The warmth is also having a pronounced effect on early small-grain planting:
"Small grain planting continued at a strong pace aided by warm, dry conditions,
according to the USDA, NASS, Minnesota Field Office. For the week ending April 8,
spring wheat advanced 22 percentage points to 25 percent planted, compared to
0 percent last year and 1 percent for the five-year average."
- Excerpt from Minnesota Ag News/Crop Weather (USDA)