Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:54 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
For the third consecutive day, Chicago, Illinois hit their warmest temperature on record so early in the year, going back to 1872. The mercury hit 82°F, giving the city its third consecutive day of 80°+ temperatures, smashing the old record by a month. Previously, the earliest Chicago had ever seen three consecutive 80 degree days was back on April 14 - 16, 1976. This morning's Public Information Statement from the National Weather Service in Chicago had this to say:
Chicago and Rockford have both broken high temperature records 3 days in a row and will likely break record highs for 5 days in a row. There is even the potential they could tie or break record highs for 6 or 7 days in a row depending on how warm temperatures get on Monday and Tuesday. It is extraordinarily rare for climate locations with 100+ year long periods of records to break records day after day after day. At the current pace... it is likely that Chicago and Rockford will not only break... but shatter their current record warmest Marches.
Figure 1. "This is the kind of sunset that you can expect to see in July, not in March. 77degrees when I took this," said the caption on this wunderphoto taken yesterday in Windom, Minnesota by wunderphotographer sally.
Minneapolis, Minnesota hit 79°F yesterday, the warmest it's ever been this early in the year, going back to 1872, and 39°F above average. This smashes the old record by a remarkable 6°F. Previous record: 73°F, set just two days previously, and also on March 7, 2000.
Bismark, North Dakota hit 81°F yesterday, which was a remarkable 41°F above normal. Not only does this tie Bismarck's warmest all-time monthly March temp on record (three other 81°F readings later in the month, with March 22,1910 being next earliest), it beats the next warmest early season record by a full 6°! The previous record was 75°F on March 12, 2007. Temperatures also soared into the 70's well into Canada's prairies on Friday, setting all-time warm temperature records for so early in the year across much of southern Canada.
International Falls, Minnesota hit 71°F yesterday, which was 36°F above normal, and their earliest 70°F reading by two weeks. Previously, the earliest 70°F reading came on March 30, 1967. Back on March 17, 1897, the temperature in International Falls hit -33°F!
Dexter, Michigan tornado rated an EF-3
NWS survey teams have confirmed that an EF-3 tornado with winds of 135 - 140 mph hit Dexter, Michigan on Thursday. It was the earliest EF-3 or stronger tornado in Michigan history, going back to 1950. The tornado skipped along a 7.2-mile path and had a width of up to 800 yards. It damaged or destroyed 128 buildings, but fortunately did not cause any deaths or injuries. The previous earliest appearance of an F-3 tornado in Michigan was on March 20, 1976. At least two other tornadoes touched down in Michigan Thursday, making it the second largest tornado outbreak in state history so early in the year. The record outbreak for so early in the year was the eight tornadoes that touched down on March 12, 1976.
Figure 2. Radar reflectivity image of the March 15, 2012 Dexter, Michigan tornado.
I'll be back Monday with a new post.
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