Summer in March, 2012, draws to a close

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:54 PM GMT on March 23, 2012

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The most incredible spring heat wave in U.S. and Canadian recorded history is finally drawing to a close today, after a ten-day stretch of unprecedented record-smashing intensity. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many spring temperature records broken, and by such a large margin. Airports in fifteen different states have set all-time records for March warmth, which is truly extraordinary considering that the records were set in the middle of the month, instead of the end of the month. The 29.2°C (85°F) measured at Western Head, Nova Scotia yesterday was the third warmest temperature ever recorded in Canada in March, according to Environment Canada and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera (top two records: 31.1°C at Alberini Beaver Creek BC on March 29th 1926, and 29.4°C in 1921 at Wallaceburg.) Michigan's all-time record for March warmth was toppled on Wednesday, when the mercury hit 90°F at Lapeer. The previous record, 89° at Lapeer in 1910, was matched at three stations yesterday--Ypsilanti, Dearborn, and Lapeer. The duration, areal size, and intensity of the Summer in March, 2012 heat wave are simply off-scale, and the event ranks as one of North America's most extraordinary weather events in recorded history. Such a historic event is difficult to summarize, and in today's post I will offer just a few of the most notable highlights.


Figure 1. Clear skies over the Eastern U.S. caused by a blocking ridge of high pressure on March 21, 2012, are apparent in this visible satellite image. The comma-shaped cloud pattern over the Central U.S. is associated with a "cut-off" low pressure system. This low is moving over the Eastern U.S. today through Saturday, and will bring an end to "Summer in March" over the U.S. and Canada. Image credit: NOAA's Environmental Visualization Lab, and modified by Andrew Freedman of Climate Central.

Low temperatures beating previous high temperature records for the date
I've never seen a case where the low temperature for the date beat the previous record high. This happened on at least four occasions during "Summer in March, 2012":

The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan hit 52° on March 21, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date.

The low at Mt. Washington, NH on March 21 (44°) beat the previous record high for the date (43°.)

The low temperature for International Falls, Minnesota on March 20 bottomed out at 60°F, tying the previous record high for the date.

The low temperature in Rochester, Minnesota on March 18 was 62°F, which beat the previous record high for the date of 60°.

Breaking all-time April records for warmth in March
Not only did many locations in Canada set records for their all-time warmest March day during "Summer in March, 2012", a number also broke their record for warmest April day:

St. John, New Brunswick hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 21. Previous March record: 17.5°C on March 21, 1994. April record: 22.8°C.

Kejimkujik Park, Nova Scotia hit 27.9°C on March 21. Previous March record: 22.5°C on March 30, 1986. April record: 25°C on April 27, 1990.

Yesterday, I reported that Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 22, 2012. Previous March record: 25.8° set the previous day. April record: 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. However, Rob Paola, a meteorologist with Environment Canada's Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, wrote to tell me that Halifax did not break its April record: In fact, Halifax recorded a temperature of 29.5°C on April 28, 2009. For some reason, that stat does not show up on EC's normal/extremes climate site for Halifax, which only has data up to 2006 for extremes. More details on my blog at http://robsobsblog.blogspot.ca/

Breaking daily temperature records by more than 30°F
It is exceptionally rare for a weather station with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily temperature record by more than 10°F. During "Summer in March, 2012", beating daily records by 10° - 20°F was commonplace, and many records were smashed by over 20°. Two stations broke records by more than 30°F, which is truly surreal. Western Head, Nova Scotia hit 29.2°C (85°F), yesterday, breaking their previous record for the date (10.6°C in 1969) by 18.6°C (33°F.) Yesterday's high temperature was 24°C (44°F) above average. Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula--dubbed "Michigan's Icebox", since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state--hit 85° on March 21. This broke the previous record for the date (53° in 2007) by 32°, and was an absurd 48°F above average.

Breaking daily temperature records nine consecutive days or more
It is extremely rare for stations with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily high temperature record for seven or more days in a row. The longest such streak of consecutive high temperature records at International Falls, Minnesota, was a 5-day period March 3 - 7, 2000. The city has tied or broken their high temperature for the date ten consecutive days, as of yesterday. This streak will likely end today, as the high is predicted to be 60 - 65, and the record high for the date is 66. Chicago, Illinois has tied or broken their daily high temperature record the past nine days in a row. This ties the nine-day streak of record highs set on August 26 - September 3, 1953. Other cites that have set daily high temperature records the past nine days in a row include Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana. Numerous cities have broken high temperature records on seven consecutive days during "Summer in March, 2012", including Gaylord, Pellston, and Traverse City in Michigan.


Figure 2. All-time high temperature records set in March 2012 for the U.S. The grey icons show locations where the March record was broken on multiple days. Image taken from wunderground's new record extremes page, using data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

The big picture: the impacts of "Summer in March, 2012"
I've always said living in Michigan would be much more bearable if we could just get rid of March. March weather here is always horrible, with brutal cold, high winds, damaging ice storms, heavy snow, interminable cloudy stretches with no sun, all interspersed with a few teasing warm spells. Well, this year, I got my wish. This March, we started with twelve days of April weather, followed by ten days of June and July weather, with nine days of May weather predicted to round out the month. This has been a huge benefit to the economy--vastly reduced heating costs, no snow removal bills, and far fewer traffic accidents due to icy roads. However, there is major downside to the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave. The growing season is now in full swing, five weeks early. A damaging freeze that will severely impact the fruit industry and other sensitive plants is very likely. Indeed, the forecast calls for lows in the upper 20s in the cherry-growing region of Michigan near Traverse City on Monday night. The exceptional March warmth has also melted all the snow in the northern U.S. and southern Canada, drying out the soils and setting the stage for a much warmer than average summer, and an increased chance of damaging drought conditions. The early loss of snowpack will also likely cause very low flow rates in the major rivers in late summer and early fall, reducing the amount of water needed for irrigation of crops. Low flows may also cause problems for navigation, limiting commercial barge traffic on Midwest rivers.

Links
Andrew Freedman of Climate Central interviewed a number of climate scientists who are experts in studying the link between extreme weather events and climate change for his post, Global Warming May Have Fueled March Heat Wave Odds.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt will be posting a more comprehensive summary of the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave this weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back Monday with a new post. I expect I'll be hard at work this weekend, mowing my lawn for the first time ever in March!

Jeff Masters

2012 03 22 Neighbor's Magnolia Tree drops its blossoms (gatyamgal)
Because of our week of record breaking Temps here in Bettendorf, IA, the neighbor's tree bloomed and lost its blossoms 3 weeks early. What will April bring?
2012 03 22 Neighbor's Magnolia Tree drops its blossoms
Spring Landscape (thebige)
Spring Landscape
Jefferson Memorial (KEM)
Cherry blossoms in Washington DC.
Jefferson Memorial

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That's very near the big earthquake last August isn't it KEEPEROFTHEGATE?
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The bad joke eel sure has some bad ones!
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1099. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
What were you quoting TomTaylor?
the geologist one. my pic wasnt working though so i had to upload it. workin now
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What were you quoting TomTaylor?
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1096. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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It's good for you! And that's what counts.

Quoting KoritheMan:
I ran about a half a mile today in 10 minutes. I am officially worn out. Yeah Brian, I know for you that's nothing. But guess what? I'm not you. :)
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I ran about a half a mile today in 10 minutes. I am officially worn out. Yeah Brian, I know for you that's nothing. But guess what? I'm not you. :)
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
This is the second foreshock in my general area of interest that I published on Dec. 12, 2011, which has been shortly followed by a larger event on the eastern side of the pacific ring of fire.

The Antarctic plate is the fastest moving on earth right now, so this is the area I would be paying very careful attention to.

If I lived in California, and I saw an event of 5.0 or higher in this vicinity, I would be more prepared than usual.





Any particular reason why? What made you choose that particular spot as a sign for an upcoming earthquake in California?
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1089. hydrus
Signing off...A blessed night to all..
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1088. hydrus
Quoting Grothar:


Nite Nigel
I didnt know Jamaica was in Europe....hhhaaaa..
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1087. Grothar
Quoting nigel20:
It's off to bed for me as well....good night all


Nite Nigel
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1086. hydrus
Quoting Grothar:
Why is it that Plaza always goes to bed when I answer him. That is why I dislike talking to Europeans on the blog. They go to bed too early.
I agree. I think that their awake about four hours a day. The rest is for rest.
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Spreading mid-ocean ridges do not have mag 8 quakes. The crust is too thin and flexible to store that much energy. It's subduction zones that are the most dangerous followed by strike/slip faults.
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1084. hydrus
Quoting nigel20:
It's off to bed for me as well....good night all
G,nite Nige.
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1083. hydrus
Quoting Grothar:


I don't believe so, but you can't ask any of us and we can WU mail you the help. Most of it is pretty simple. Why hydrus learned to to post an image in less than a year.
This is true. I learned in about three seconds. Which to Grothar,s credit is actually less then a tropical or solar year. Very good Grothar..:),,lol
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1082. nigel20
It's off to bed for me as well....good night all
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8226
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


is the west coast next
This is the second foreshock in my general area of interest that I published on Dec. 12, 2011, which has been shortly followed by a larger event on the eastern side of the pacific ring of fire.

The Antarctic plate is the fastest moving on earth right now, so this is the area I would be paying very careful attention to.

If I lived in California, and I saw an event of 5.0 or higher in this vicinity, I would be more prepared than usual.





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1080. Patrap
isthisthingon.org/Yellowstone
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
1078. Grothar
Quoting ScottLincoln:


Kinda reminds me of SETIatHome.


Only if you want a good BOINC.
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Quoting Grothar:


I don't believe so, but you can't ask any of us and we can WU mail you the help. Most of it is pretty simple. Why hydrus learned to to post an image in less than a year.



Thanks for your help. Think when I get some time I will create a first blog post and use it for practice. Have a nice night all. I am out of here.
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1076. nigel20
Quoting BigMonsterHurricane:
I believe I will go review my fishing tackle and see what baits I plan on using next trip to the lake...so, good bye all.

Have a good night
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8226
1075. Grothar
Why is it that Plaza always goes to bed when I answer him. That is why I dislike talking to Europeans on the blog. They go to bed too early.
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Quoting PlazaRed:
Here's the whole damm shebang, Take your pick, its about half way down on the main page.
Ive got to crash as tomorrow the world carries on and its 4.40 am in the old empire now.
Here's the BBC link which I m sure will work OK.
Night, Night!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
Quoting Grothar:



Here, try this.

Link


Kinda reminds me of SETIatHome.
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What's the story, Kori?
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1072. Grothar
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


Grothar I think hydrus needs to be under restraint. For his own good ;)


He goes off a little sometimes, but he is OK.
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1070. nigel20
Quoting BigMonsterHurricane:


Most certainly not!!

Ever heard that song by Akon, called Dangerous...well the three words Girl/Hot/Dangerous seem to go together lol

Lol
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8226
Quoting BigMonsterHurricane:


It would be a tough choice, but I would rather take an ugly weak system then a beautiful dangerous system! Anyone else agree?


Depends. I'll take a tropical storm if it's going to be quasi-stationary. If not, I'd prefer something stronger.

P.S. I really want to be a storm chaser, but current priorities in life prevent me from doing so.
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1068. Grothar
Quoting PedleyCA:
Hey Grothar,

Is there an instruction book for how to operate this blogs features and buttons.


I don't believe so, but you can't ask any of us and we can WU mail you the help. Most of it is pretty simple. Why hydrus learned to to post an image in less than a year.
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1067. Patrap


Magnitude 4.8 - NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
2012 March 26 02:33:50 UTC


Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Magnitude 4.8


Monday, March 26, 2012 at 02:33:50 UTC
Monday, March 26, 2012 at 11:33:50 AM at epicenter
Location
40.379°N, 142.373°E
Depth
34.8 km (21.6 miles)
Region
NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances
75 km (47 miles) E (100°) from Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
129 km (80 miles) NE (55°) from Morioka, Honshu, Japan
149 km (92 miles) ESE (109°) from Aomori, Honshu, Japan
572 km (355 miles) NNE (23°) from TOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertainty
horizontal +/- 19.8 km (12.3 miles); depth +/- 7.3 km (4.5 miles)
Parameters
NST=204, Nph=205, Dmin=193.7 km, Rmss=0.67 sec, Gp=130°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=9
Source
Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID
usc0008pyy
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
1066. Grothar
Quoting PlazaRed:

Muchas Gracias Hombre!


De nada, Senor! El gusto es mio. Creo que hubo una falla en la direccion. (Excuse the missing ene and accent marks.
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1064. hydrus
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


*smacks hydrus upside the head*

kidding of course!
Its cool..i,ll just duck the next one..:)
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1063. hydrus
Quoting PlazaRed:
Here's the whole damm shebang, Take your pick, its about half way down on the main page.
Ive got to crash as tomorrow the world carries on and its 4.40 am in the old empire now.
Here's the BBC link which I m sure will work OK.
Night, Night!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
G,nite Red.
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Quoting hydrus:
Gro will go with the Flow, but wont hoe below his elbow. Tomorrow he will say no and eat a crow. He will not Row Bow Sew Low like a Pro, So Go Mow foe Joe then Throw a Blow at the Snow and Tow Low but watch your Toe. Row Crow Sew and So toe Joe no, know ...O.K.


Grothar I think hydrus needs to be under restraint. For his own good ;)
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1061. nigel20
Quoting BigMonsterHurricane:


It would be a tough choice, but I would rather take an ugly weak system then a beautiful dangerous system! Anyone else agree?

Would you say the same thing about girls?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8226
Hey Grothar,

Is there an instruction book for how to operate this blogs features and buttons.
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1059. Grothar
Quoting hydrus:
Gro will go with the Flow, but wont hoe below his elbow. Tomorrow he will say no and eat a crow. He will not Row Bow Sew Low like a Pro, So Go Mow foe Joe then Throw a Blow at the Snow and Tow Low but watch your Toe. Row Crow Sew and So toe Joe no, know ...O.K.


Why, hy? Did I deny the hi to Bri?
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Quoting Grothar:



Here, try this.

Link

Muchas Gracias Hombre!
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2093
Here's the whole damm shebang, Take your pick, its about half way down on the main page.
Ive got to crash as tomorrow the world carries on and its 4.40 am in the old empire now.
Here's the BBC link which I m sure will work OK.
Night, Night!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2093
1056. hydrus
Quoting nigel20:

Good evening all. Yeah,look at how perfect it looks on satellite...it's amazing something that beautiful can be so destructive
I said that exact same thing back then.
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1055. hydrus
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Whoa Gro! I did no such thing yo!
Gro will go with the Flow, but wont hoe below his elbow. Tomorrow he will say no and eat a crow. He will not Row Bow Sew Low like a Pro, So Go Mow foe Joe then Throw a Blow at the Snow and Tow Low but watch your Toe. Row Crow Sew and So toe Joe no, know ...O.K.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Win. Chuck Norris Style!

That just made my day. :D
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1052. Grothar
Quoting PedleyCA:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-174 88 450

that link I posted didn't work either this does.



Here, try this.

Link
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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