So ends the greatest heat wave ever in United States history. The funny thing is it happened in March. It's unprecedented, especially, this time of year to have so many records broken, by so much, over such an extended amount of time. Usually, this time of year you get maybe one or two records and then things crash back down. Not this March....
After all is said and done over 6,000 high temperature records were broken across the country. Here's a break down of how many high temperature records were broken from March 9th to March 23rd.
Fri. Mar. 9 101
Sat. Mar. 10 105
Sun. Mar. 11 189
Mon. Mar. 12 138
Tue. Mar. 13 218
Wed. Mar. 14 460
Thu. Mar. 15 662
Fri. Mar. 16 496
Sat. Mar. 17 565
Sun. Mar. 18 586
Mon. Mar. 19 510
Tue. Mar. 20 710
Wed. Mar. 21 575
Thu. Mar. 22 295
In Eau Claire, 10 record high temperatures were set or tied during the heat wave. Also, 11 maximum low temperature records were set or tied during the heat wave. Check out the graphs below.
Unlike here in Eau Claire, many cities broke their warmest March high temperature on record. International Falls, MN reached 79 degrees on the 18th. That's the warmest ever in the month of March. Several days their high temperature was over 40 degrees above normal.
Chicago, IL spend several days in the 80s....eight of them in fact! On March 21st, the mercury soared to 87 degrees in the windy city. Speaking of 80s many cities reached their earliest 80+ records including here in Eau Claire. We hit 80 degrees on March 18th. That's the earliest we've hit 80 or higher during a given year. That's a full week ahead of the old record. Marquette, MI broke their record by 22 days!
Detroit topped out on March 22nd at 86 degrees breaking the record for warmest March high temperature. The old record was 84 degrees back in 1945. Detroit had a 10 day streak of highs greater than 70 degrees. That's the longest such streak so early in the season beating the old record by a full month.
Below is a map of average temperature departures across the country. Notice much of the country is 10 to 15 degrees above normal. That's a lot! This map takes into account from March 1st to March 23rd. In Eau Claire, taking on the 24th as well we are over 18 degrees above normal. It should be easily the warmest March ever in record history for the city. Many other cities across the country will likely have the same thing happen including places like Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Detroit. This kind of heat wave will likely be something we will never again see in our lifetime.