It's official, March 2012 goes down as the warmest March on record (records are from the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport from 1950-present). The average temperature in Eau Claire was 47.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The normal average temperature is 31.4 degrees, so that is 16.0 above normal. The old record for a warmest March was 39.7 from 1973.
So here is the top 5 warmest Marches in Eau Claire…
Notice 3 of the top five are from the 2000s, but here is a graphical break down of March 2012.
The green bars are normal highs and lows. The red bars, the record highs and blue bars record lows. The dark blue bars being observed highs and lows. Only 3 days brought low temps below normal and 7 were below average highs temps. So overall, very warm to say the least.
Notes from March 2012…
-Set 8 new record high temps and tied 2 more.
-10 days we also set new record high minimum temps, 1 tied.
-Hit 80 on the 16th that is the earliest in the year we’ve ever hit 80.
-.5” of snow, -8.1” below normal.
-1.54” of precipitation, -.19” below normal.
Here is a graph of the March temps compared to normal for much of Wisconsin and Minnesota. As you can tell, all of Western Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota were 14 to 18 degrees above normal, with a max near La Crosse.
This is the graph for March precipitation. The Chippewa Valley all sits just a bit below normal.
And with temps as warm as they were, tough to get any snowfall. Here is the map showing just how little we all got. This is the percent of what we normally get. Eau Claire got 6% of the average snow for the month.
And it wasn't just here, the warmth was all across the country. 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.