Storm Team 8 Weighs In: March 2013

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By WXedge Staff on February 25, 2013, 9:00am Last modified: February 26, 2013, 3:12pm

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March is an important transition month. Meteorological spring officially beings on the 1st of the month, but the arrival of the spring equinox comes on March 20th. The days continue to get longer and Daylight Saving Time pushes the sunset (and sunrise) one hour later on March 10th. Colder, typical winter weather gradually gives way to warmer days, but it's not as simple as that...

The Storm Team 8 consensus is that March 2013 starts on the cool side, but if you're looking forward to spring fever, they say warmer days are likely by month's end.

Gil Simmons expects a large dip in the jet stream to keep colder air locked into the eastern United States for the first two or three weeks of the month. However, just in time for the official start of spring, he says a warm-up is possible for the last week of March.

Erika Martin also sees a cold start to the month. With that said, she thinks the cold air will be strong enough to keep storms pushed to the south. That means March might also be drier than average, at least for the beginning of the month.

March 1st: Average highs, 40-43F. Average lows, 22-28F.
March 31st: Average highs, 46-49F. Average lows, 25-31F.
--Record low: -6F on March 19th, 1967. (Bradley Int'l Airport)
--Record high: 89F on March 31st, 1998. (Bradley Int'l Airport)

Steve MacLaughlin says, "March might very well be the most extreme month in Connecticut." He reminds us that both bitter cold and extreme warmth have occurred in March. As for snow, "...very powerful snowstorms are always a threat."

Sam Kantrow explains how the weather patterns typically change in March, "...the pattern...becomes more high amplitude. Troughs and ridges form. This causes a big temperature differential, which often causes stormy weather."

Blizzard of 1888: March 11-14 - Perhaps the worst blizzard on record for Connecticut. Snow totals reached 45 inches in the New Haven area.
Superstorm of 1993: March 12-15 - One of the most powerful East Coast storms in recent memory. Heavy snow fell from the Gulf Coast to Maine. Flooding rains, coasting flooding and strong winds hit Connecticut, with heavy snow across inland areas as well.
April Fool's Blizzard of 1997: March 31-April 1 - Rain changed to a heavy, wet snow with thunderstorms, causing widespread power outages. 1 to 2 feet of snow pounded the higher terrain of northern Connecticut.
Summer-like warmth of 1998: March 27-31 - Although this wasn't necessarily a storm, it was still extremely impressive. Bradley Int'l Airport set record highs for 3 out of those 5 days. The high temperatures were 82, 84, 79, 82, and 89 to finish the month.

Quincy Vagell expects the ups and downs of the winter season to continue through March. "I see the month starting colder than average and we could easily have one or two significant storms within the first few weeks." As long as the chilly weather might last, he also says, "given the warmth in March over the past 15 years, it would not shock me at all if we had a few days reach the 70's by the final week of the month. Expect the unexpected...1998 almost hit 90 in March."

Click here for more from Steve and Sam.

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WXedge Staff

Town: New Haven, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since February 2012.

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