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March madness forecast competition

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:30 PM GMT on March 12, 2007

March madness is upon us, and a just-for-fun weather forecasting contest--the annual Weatherdance competition--is now open for registration. The contest, sponsored by the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Science at the University of Michigan, challenges you to choose which of the competing campuses in the first round of the NCAA Men's and/or Women's Basketball Tournament will be warmer on game day. After the first round, the teams still in the Weatherdance will not be the same as those who continue on in basketball. Thus, the Final Four in the basketball tourney will be different than the "Fahrenheit Four" in the Weatherdance. Your picks for each round must be made by midnight on the night before the game.

If you'd like to play along this year for the prizes (and glory), please register by 11:59pm EDT Wednesday night at http://www.weatherdance.org/. This year's prizes include our rainbow-colored Weather Underground umbrellas (not available to the public except through this contest) and copies of the book, Extreme Weather. If you're a K-12 teacher, you have the chance to win a the grand prize--a free storm-chasing trip in May with the University of Michigan/Texas Tech storm chasing team!

Southern California wild fires
Hot, dry Santa Ana winds have been blowing over Southern Califonia the past few days, bringing record high temperatures in the 90s and dangerous fire conditions. This weather pattern should continue to bring record warmth today, then subside by Tuesday.

There were 11 daily record highs set or tied in Southern California on Sunday March 11th:

Camarillo Airport (94 degrees)....old record 88/2004
Oxnard NWS (94 degrees)....old record 87/2004
Long Beach Airport (94 degrees)....old record 87/1959
Santa Maria Airport (91 degrees)....old record 85/1934
Santa Barbara (89 degrees)....old record 82/2004
Sandberg (72 degrees)....old record 67/2005
U.C.L.A. (87 degrees)....old record 86/1959
Pasadena (93 degrees)....old record 89/1997
Lancaster (82 degrees)....old record 80/1997
Paso Robles (83 degrees)....old record 82/2005
Cal Poly (86 degrees)....old record 86/1997 tied

I'll be back Tuesday with a look at the lessons learned from the great May 3, 1999 tornado.

Jeff Masters

60ft Flames in Anaheim Hills
60ft Flames in Anaheim Hills
Red Flag conditions and hot dry Santa Ana winds drive flames towards these upscale homes.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.