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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1002. Grothar
Quoting spathy:
You know I have been wondering the same sort of thing.

The weather pattern here in SW Fl has been very summer like and there has actually been some sea Breeze showers in the early evening late afternoon for the past several weeks.
Very much like those years.
But I wasnt thinking Canes I am wondering about a good early start to our rainy season.
Any chance this pattern will continue into early May?


Doesn't look like spathy.

Link
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26475
Quoting SPLbeater:


the pole, lol. it didnt get to my nerves as much as it used to, which is good.

Now if people make fun of the incident or keep bothering me about it, THAT is when I get angry and lose control of myself. :D

Hahahahahahahahahahahah you broke a light pole :)
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Quoting SPLbeater:
Well, I reckon I have another story to add to SPLbeater's bloopers....

So we just had church, and I was walkin to de van. there was this light pole, and i put my hand on it and swung halfway around then CRACK! i landed on the ground with it in my hand. It had broken off...and we later found out it had been broken before. So, we duck-taped it and went home lol.


I hear Gene Kelly had the same problem.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:




I spent 14 hrs on a 120 ft crewboat in 20-25 ft seas back in 1989. Thats was the "no-fun" boat ride.
Lol..I bet. I spent 3 days in it in 85. When it was over, we all had sore muscles from holding on to everything..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21414
Quoting Grothar:


Are you talking about your hand or the pole???


the pole, lol. it didnt get to my nerves as much as it used to, which is good.

Now if people make fun of the incident or keep bothering me about it, THAT is when I get angry and lose control of myself. :D
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Has anybody noticed that in the last few days there has been lot of 4+-5+ earthquakes?
This might be an aperitif to what might just be a nasty session of damaging quakes as they are happening all over the place from Chile, to Greece and Iran to Japan, lots too many of hem to be normal.
Just an observation!
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2092
Quoting PlazaRed:

Sorry Keep, in my enthusiasm to remind what little of the world we have with us of the awesome implications of the 7.1, I accidentaly hit the wrong button on your post. No hard feelings I hope.
This is possibly devastating; as we we have big quakes in the Western quadrant of the ring of fire. If we are getting 7.+ then it time to pay attention to every rattle as the anti-clockwise progression of the quakes over the Western edges of the ring of fire may soon make another move.
Hope I'm wrong on this.


Been there. Done that. Never a fun thing to do.

I love the diversity of conversations. I never intentionally minus a post. Even if I do not agree with what was posted.

Correction! - The only time I intentionally minus any post is when the spammers post their advertisements here.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
That upper low coming into southern California, where is it forecasted to go? not talking bout TX getting much rain later this week, wth is going on...
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Well yeah! I ain't nothin' but milk 'n' honey!


Sorry, Doug. Even I had to plus that one.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26475



Magnitude 4.9 - SOUTHEASTERN IRAN
2012 March 26 00:06:19 UTC


Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Magnitude 4.9

Date-Time

Monday, March 26, 2012 at 00:06:19 UTC
Monday, March 26, 2012 at 03:36:19 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
27.749°N, 58.827°E
Depth
67.2 km (41.8 miles)
Region
SOUTHEASTERN IRAN
Distances
157 km (97 miles) SSE of Bam, Iran
193 km (119 miles) WNW of Iranshahr, Iran
259 km (160 miles) ENE of Bandar `Abbas, Iran
1124 km (698 miles) SE of TEHRAN, Iran
Location Uncertainty
horizontal +/- 24.7 km (15.3 miles); depth +/- 8.5 km (5.3 miles)
Parameters
NST=100, Nph=100, Dmin=406.3 km, Rmss=0.7 sec, Gp=104°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=7
Source
Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID
usc0008py6
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128645
Quoting SPLbeater:
Well, I reckon I have another story to add to SPLbeater's bloopers....

So we just had church, and I was walkin to de van. there was this light pole, and i put my hand on it and swung halfway around then CRACK! i landed on the ground with it in my hand. It had broken off...and we later found out it had been broken before. So, we duck-taped it and went home lol.


Are you talking about your hand or the pole???
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26475
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


This guy?


yup...das my boy
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Quoting presslord:


my first cousin managed to carve out a pretty slick wrestlin' career as Father James Mitchell...The Sinister Minister...it's an odd business...been a wilride for him...


This guy?
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54353
Well, I reckon I have another story to add to SPLbeater's bloopers....

So we just had church, and I was walkin to de van. there was this light pole, and i put my hand on it and swung halfway around then CRACK! i landed on the ground with it in my hand. It had broken off...and we later found out it had been broken before. So, we duck-taped it and went home lol.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Lol...Yes I did. Although I did have a brief unprofessional foray into the sport.


my first cousin managed to carve out a pretty slick wrestlin' career as Father James Mitchell...The Sinister Minister...it's an odd business...been a wilride for him...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


is the west coast next

Sorry Keep, in my enthusiasm to remind what little of the world we have with us of the awesome implications of the 7.1, I accidentaly hit the wrong button on your post. No hard feelings I hope.
This is possibly devastating; as we we have big quakes in the Western quadrant of the ring of fire. If we are getting 7.+ then it time to pay attention to every rattle as the anti-clockwise progression of the quakes over the Western edges of the ring of fire may soon make another move.
Hope I'm wrong on this.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2092
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


What's not to love about us?


Well yeah! I ain't nothin' but milk 'n' honey!
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Quoting Grothar:


Probably one on how much he really likes us.


What's not to love about us?
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Quoting hydrus:
More than once I have tried to imagine flying into a cat-5 like Allen, Camille, Gilbert, and getting down low enough to really see what the ocean looks like in the eye. I have been in 25 to 30 footers. I can only wonder what 70 or 80 footers look like.




I spent 14 hrs on a 120 ft crewboat in 20-25 ft seas back in 1989. Thats was the "no-fun" boat ride.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


You are still here and coherent. ... I take that you decided to choose a different life path?


Lol...Yes I did. Although I did have a brief unprofessional foray into the sport.
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Quoting Patrap:
NOAA plane flies through the eye of hurricane Gilbert in 1988

Dr. Jeff Masters on board, Flight Met

More than once I have tried to imagine flying into a cat-5 like Allen, Camille, Gilbert, and getting down low enough to really see what the ocean looks like in the eye. I have been in 25 to 30 footers. I can only wonder what 70 or 80 footers look like.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21414
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Very impressive. At 17 I wanted to be a pro wrestler.


You are still here and coherent. ... I take that you decided to choose a different life path?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I wonder what April Fool's Day blog Dr. Masters' will post this year?


Probably one on how much he really likes us.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26475
I realise I must be sensible on this one but,one cant help but think that the nasty rattle down the line is a casual warning of things to come?
Hope not!
MAP 7.1 2012/03/25 22:37:07 -35.183 -71.792 34.8 MAULE, CHILE
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2092
NOAA plane flies through the eye of hurricane Gilbert in 1988

Dr. Jeff Masters on board, Flight Met

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128645
I'm a bit late due to local provincial elections and the usual need to show one's face, even if they hate the site of it?
Anyway back to reality, Pat! is this one of the big rattles that you have been waiting for?:-

MAP 7.1 2012/03/25 22:37:07 -35.183 -71.792 34.8 MAULE, CHILE

Damn, the conservatives have gained control of Andalusia, They have never had control of anything before! This could be catastrophic?
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2092
I wonder what April Fool's Day blog Dr. Masters' will post this year?
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Quoting caribbeantracker01:
Dr. what about the bermuda high it is looking very simular to 2004 and 2005?



YEAR 2012


Year 2004 and 05 type high pressure

The location of the Subtropical ridge can and will change between now and the peak of hurricane season.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32265
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Very impressive. At 17 I wanted to be a pro wrestler.
I wanted to be a journeyman...Still do..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21414
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I would have loved to track that thing, it's beautiful.
Dr,Masters flew into Gilbert while NOVA recorded footage..Some brave souls out there..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21414
Dr. what about the bermuda high it is looking very simular to 2004 and 2005?



YEAR 2012


Year 2004 and 05 type high pressure
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Quoting hydrus:
Great post.


Very impressive. At 17 I wanted to be a pro wrestler.
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Quoting hydrus:
Gilbert was one of the most incredible storms ever seen. Its path of destruction was devastating. Definitely one of the most memorable storms I have tracked.Formed September 8, 1988
Dissipated September 19, 1988
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:
185 mph (295 km/h)
Lowest pressure 888 mbar (hPa); 26.22 inHg
Fatalities 433 total
Damage $7.1 billion (1988 USD)
Areas affected Windward Islands, Venezuela, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Central America, Yucatn Peninsula, Northern Mexico, Texas, South Central United States, Great Lakes region, Canada

I would have loved to track that thing, it's beautiful.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32265
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54353
Quoting nigel20:

Thanks, the damage from Gilbert was quite unbelievable...I didn't experience Gilbert, so I only go off what my parents told me. I was born one year after hurricane gilbert 1989.
Gilbert was one of the most incredible storms ever seen. Its path of destruction was devastating. Definitely one of the most memorable storms I have tracked.Formed September 8, 1988
Dissipated September 19, 1988
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:
185 mph (295 km/h)
Lowest pressure 888 mbar (hPa); 26.22 inHg
Fatalities 433 total
Damage $7.1 billion (1988 USD)
Areas affected Windward Islands, Venezuela, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Central America, Yucatn Peninsula, Northern Mexico, Texas, South Central United States, Great Lakes region, Canada..The barometric pressure was actually 26.13.-Not 26.22.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21414
Quoting percylives:
Here's a youngster who is definitely an outlier on the bell curve of achievement.

Link

Great post.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21414
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


is the west coast next



I sure hope not. Doing fine here without any jiggling. But we do have a nice rain event today and that is just good enough thank you.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Are you two the same person?

Yes.

No.

Maybe?

Probably not.

Possibly.

I don't think so...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32265
Quoting Ameister12:

Yeah, I'm aware that it's still a couple days out, but the GFS nailed the severe weather outbreak on March 2. Really should keep an eye on it.
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yeah, I'm aware that it's still a couple days out, but it has shown the same thing for several days now, and it nailed the March 2 tornado outbreak.

Are you two the same person?
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Quoting Tazmanian:



where way pass mar 2nd un less you mean mar 2nd of 2013 lol

No Taz, go back and read my comment for a third time. :P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32265
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


is the west coast next

oh heck no
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

No, I mean March 2. Read my comment again Taz. :P



where way pass mar 2nd un less you mean mar 2nd of 2013 lol
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I think you went back and modified yours to copy mine, sir. ;)

Uh-huh. Sure I did. >_>
(SARCASM MODE: ON)
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is the west coast next
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54353
Quoting Ameister12:

Copy cat! XD

I think you went back and modified yours to copy mine, sir. ;)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32265
Quoting Tazmanian:



dont you mean APR 2nd?

No, I mean March 2. Read my comment again Taz. :P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32265
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yeah, I'm aware that it's still a couple days out, but it has shown the same thing for several days now, and it nailed the March 2 tornado outbreak.

Copy cat! XD
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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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