A near-normal March, sort of...
Posted April 4, 2011
We finished off the month of March last week, and it was one of those months for which the final statistics don't always reflect all that well the details of how the weather played out. In terms of temperature, we ended the month with an average high that was only one tenth of a degree from normal, but the month was characterized by large and rapid swings to the warm side and cool side early on, and then a stretch of very warm weather from around the 17th to the 23rd, and finally a lengthy span of cooler than normal temperatures late in the month, including one day (27th) with a high temperature that was colder than our normal low for the date! You can see all those temperature trends in the graph from the Raleigh NWS that I've included here.
Overall, we ended up with a mean temperature for the month of 51.4 degrees, which despite the ups and downs was only about 7 tenths of a degree above normal, and we had 6 days where minimum temperatures fell to freezing or below, compared to a normal of 8.8 days.
Precipitation for March was 3.52 inches at RDU, just over one-half inch below normal. Not quite a full complement of rain, but better than some recent months and at least helpful in preventing drought conditions from worsening very much. There was a trace of snow, which is one inch below the long-term average snow amount for the month. There were 12 days with measurable precipitation, compared to a normal of 10.2 days.
Our winds averaged out to 6.9 mph (2.2 mph below normal), with the strongest winds on March 10th, when the highest sustained wind (averaged over two minutes) reached 32 mph and the strongest peak gust hit 45 mph.
Just a couple of records were set or tied in March. On the 18th, we set a new record high with 85 degrees, surpassing a previous record of 80 from 1999. On the 27th, the high of 83 degrees tied an older record from 2007, and in the opposite direction, our high temperature of 40 degrees on the 27th tied the old mark for lowest high temperature on that date, last observed in 1947.