Above: During one of the hottest Marches in Florida history, many beaches were closed due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Shown here is Englewood Beach in Charlotte County, Florida, closed to the public by local authorities on March 22, 2020. (Thomas O'Neill/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The burners have been turned up full blast lately across the subtropics and tropics of North America. Last month ranked as the warmest March on record—by far in some cases—for dozens of locations stretching from states adjoining the U.S. Gulf Coast to large parts of Mexico.
The Gulf itself is also extraordinarily warm for so early in the spring (more on that in a future post).
Unusual mildness extended well up the U.S. East Coast as well. Washington, D.C., had its fifth warmest March on record, with Philadelphia notching its seventh warmest and New York’s Central Park its eighth warmest. The only cooler-than-average part of the nation in March was from the Rockies westward.
Below are some of the places that had their hottest March on record, along with the old record and year and the period of record (POR) for each location. Many of these records were not just broken but smashed to smithereens. For example, the warmest prior eight Marches in Brownsville, Texas, averaged 74.0°F to 74.9°F, whereas the new record is nearly two degrees above that range.
At New Orleans International Airport, the average of 73.1°F was at least 5°F warmer than all previous Marches but one (2012). Had the same average occurred a month later, it would have tied as the fourth warmest April!
Brownsville, TX: 76.8°F (old record 74.9°F in 1953, POR 1878–)
Corpus Christi, TX: 73.8°F (old record 72.3°F in 2012, POR 1887–)
Galveston, TX: 71.3°F (old record 70.5°F in 2017, POR 1874–)
Port Arthur, TX: 69.8°F (old record 68.5°F in 2012, POR 1947–)
Lake Charles, LA: 70.7°F (old record 70.2°F in 2012, POR 1895–)
New Orleans, LA: 73.1°F (old record 70.7°F in 2012, POR 1946–)
Montgomery, AL: 67.1°F (old record 67.0°F in 1907, POR 1872–)
Meridian, MS: 67.3°F (old record 66.2°F in 1907, POR 1889–)
Pensacola, FL: 70.3°F (old record 68.8°F in 2012, POR 1879–)
Daytona Beach, FL: 71.0°F (old record 70.1°F in 1945, POR 1923–)
Orlando, FL: 74.0°F (old record 73.6°F in 1907, POR 1892¬–)
Sarasota, FL: 73.1°F (old record 73.0°F in 2012, POR 1911–)
Fort Myers, FL: 75.4°F (old record 74.8°F in 2003, POR 1892–)
Extreme March warmth across much of Mexico
Dozens of stations across the breadth of Mexico also saw their warmest March on record. Only the northwestern part of Mexico saw temperatures near normal, according to international weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera.
The cities listed below (some of them are also shown on the map above) had their warmest March on record with the monthly average temperatures shown below, as calculated by Herrera. Many other locations came in with second or third warmest March, and other towns and cities not shown also had their warmest March. Some of these stations also had their all-time single hottest temperature in March, according to Herrera. He adds that these averages were calculated using hourly synoptic reports, so they may differ slightly from those calculated using daily data.
Mexico City: 20.6°C (69.1°F)
Guadalajara: 21.9°C (71.4°F)
Puebla: 19.7°C (67.5°F)
Durango: 20.3°C (68.5°F)
Torreon: 25.7°C (78.3°F)
Ciudad Victoria: 25.9°C (78.6°F)
Tampico: 26.1°C (79.0°F)
Campeche: 28.9°C (84.0°F)
Zamora: 23.1°C (73.6°F)
Saltillo: 20.0°C (68.0°F)
Queretaro: 21.5°C (70.7°F)
San Luis Potosi: 20.8°C (69.4°F)
Tapachula: 31.1°C (88.0°F)
Acapulco: 28.1°C (82.6°F)
Guanajuato: 20.8°C (69.4°F)
Soto La Marina: 26.5°C (79.7°F)
Tulacingo: 19.6°C (67.3°F)
Tuxtla Gutierrez: 27.8°C (82.0°F)
Tlaxcala: 18.5°C (65.3°F)
Valladolid: 27.6°C (81.7°F)
Rio Verde: 24.8°C (76.6°F)
Aguascalientes: 21.1°C (70.0°F)
Sombrerete: 19.1°C (66.4°F)
Orizaba: 21.1°C (70.0°F)
Tepehuanes: 17.8°C (64.0°F)
Thanks go to Maximiliano Herrera for the statistics above.