March 2016: The Lion and Lamb Dance

Posted: April 5, 2016, 11:04 am by spatrick


March is typically a transition month, but in this case, Mother Nature seemed very confused. The first week of March featured around to slightly below average temperatures with even snow showers across much of the Northeast and a coastal storm for the mid-Atlantic. By the second week? Many areas were in the 70s and 80s, even breaking high temperature records for two days straight! By the third week, forecasters were pulling their hair out over a first day of spring snowstorm. Though a good portion of the snow fell overnight, the time of year did show its face: not long after daybreak, the sun angle created mainly wet roads and significant melting, even up into New Hampshire! The month then closed out with wind advisories across the region (with southeastern New England experiencing them not only once, but twice within two days!), with wind gusts howling to around 50 mph.

Peak wind gusts on March 28th across New Jersey. Wind Advisories were up across the area.

Temperatures from March 9th-10th were exceptionally warm and yes, record-breaking (see charts below)! As far north as Hartford, CT temperatures reached an astounding 81 degrees on the 9th. Not only did the area break two record high temperatures back-to-back, but the month overall ranks in the Top 10 warmest March's on record. In particular, the state of New Jersey saw this March as the 6th warmest on record, with an average temperature of 46.7 (the warmest March on record occurred in 2012, with an average temperatures of 49.7). The temperature departure graph below indicates how above normal we truly were across the region, with every location seeing a positive temperature departure. Here at the office in Hackettstown, NJ, we even noticed a few of the local residents were getting their heated pools up and running!

Record daily high temperatures for March 9 (top) and March 10 (bottom) across the Northeast.

March 2016 monthly temperature departures for cities across the Northeast.

Snowfall departures for March 2016 varied across the region. While the mid-Atlantic was above normal for the month, northern New Jersey into New England saw below average snowfall. Not to say New England didn't receive snow, as the first day of spring storm brought a general 2 - 4 + inches to the area. Even with this storm, however, March left many in New England trailing well behind last year's totals. For example, Manchester, NH reported only 4.2" for the month, more than half of what they usually get in March (8.9"). As of the end of March, Boston, Worcester, and Providence were all well below normal, as shown in the last graph below.

Snowfall departure map for locations across the Northeast for March 2016; notice how New York through Massachusetts experienced negative snowfall departures (interjected by the first day of Spring storm), while southern New Jersey and points through Virginia were actually positive, even with above average temperatures for the month!

The normals and cumulative snowfall totals through March 31st for the 2015-2016 winter season compared to normal in New England.

Director of Forensic and Data Services / Lead Meteorologist
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