SILVER SPRING, Md., April 6, 2017—The saying goes something like, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”
But this year it didn’t quite turn out that way.
As a transition between winter and spring in the United States, March is the kind of month where just about any type of weather can happen.
Coming off a very warm February 2017, many were tricked into thinking spring had arrived. However, an Arctic plunge of frigid air plowed into the nation’s midsection in mid-March, dashing hopes of an early spring and freezing plants as far south as Florida.
In the Holt area, temperatures dipped into the upper 20s mid-month.
Climate by the numbers
Last month, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 46.2 degrees Farenheit, 4.7 degrees above the 20th-century average. This ranked as the ninth warmest March in the 123-year period of record, according to scientists from National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Record. Near-record warmth spanned 13 states in the West and Great Plains, with below-average temperatures in the Northeast.
The average precipitation total for March was 2.56 inches, 0.05 inch above the 20th-century average, and ranked near the middle of the record. Much-above-average precipitation across the Northwest offset much-below-average precipitation in the Southeast.
Florida had much-below-average precipitation last month making it the 9th driest March on record.
The year-to-date (January through March 2017) average temperature was 40.3 degrees, 5.1 degrees above the 20th-century average. This was the second warmest first quarter of the year in the record behind 2012.
The year-to-date precipitation total for the Lower 48 states was 8.09 inches, 1.13 inches above average. This ranked as the 10th wettest for this period on record.
NOAA news release