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March 2021 Weather Recap: Mild & Rainy Last Two Weeks

 Daffodils of march

 

The first week-and-a-half of March 2021 was exceedingly dry, with just 0.16" falling thru St. Patrick's Day.  (3/1 was the only day with rain.)  Then, in the last two weeks of the month, regular rainfalls returned, with 3.25" measured (more than 50% above average for that period).  The beginning of the month was also on the cold side, with temperatures four degrees colder than average through the 8th (the coldest day was 3/2, with a high/low of 33°/21°).   The rest of the month was six degrees above average, largely due to the last twelve days of the month, which were nine degrees milder than average (high/low of 64°/45°).  Overall, the month was 3.3 degrees above average, and was the 13th mildest March on record (March 2020 was eighth mildest).   The average high was 4.4 degrees above average; the average low was 2.3 above average.

 

The month's highlight was the record high of 82° on 3/26 – the first reading in the 80s in March since 1998 (and the eighth year in which the first 80+ occurred in March).  Besides this first reading in the 80s, March also had the year’s first readings in the 60s (3/9), and 70s (3/11).  This was just the third year in which all three occurrences happened in March, joining 1945 and 1977.

 

82 degrees

 

For the second year in a row, there was no measurable snow in March, just the second time this has happened; the first time was in 1945 and 1946.  And for just the fifth time, February, which was one of the snowiest, was bookended by a January and March with little snowfall.

 

Chart - snowy february bookended by snow-free months

There were eight days that were ten or more degrees milder than average (including 3/26's high of 82°, which was 29 degrees above average), and two others that were more than ten degrees colder than average.  14 days were five degrees or more above average (including eight in a row, from 3/21-3/28, that were seven or more degrees above average); eight were five degrees or more below average.

 

After back-to-back months with diurnal variations below ten degrees, March's was 16.6 degrees (average is 15.1).  Additionally, the range between the coldest and highest temperatures in March was 61 degrees (21° and 82°), the widest range since 2007, when it was 67 degrees (11° and 78°).  This was in contrast to January and February, both which had variations of only 37 degrees. (The greatest range in March is 72 degrees, which was in 1990, when the temperature extremes were 13° and 85°.) 

 

The month had fifteen days with humidity levels that dropped to 25% or lower at some point in the day (usually in the afternoon), with the lowest being 12% on 3/15 at 4:00 PM (and there were two other days with lowest humidity at 13%).  Finally, ten days had a peak wind gust of 35 mph or higher, with the peak gust at 44 mph, which was clocked during the evening of the 26th (the day with a high of 82°).   

 

Here are March recaps from the five previous years:

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

 

 March_2021_iphone_calendar-scaled

 

 

Comments

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William

last March and this March both had an overall monthly average mean temp that was warmer than normal. when was the last time Central Park had consecutive Marches that were above normal in terms of temperature?

this was the first time ever that Central Park had consecutive seasons (2019-2020 and 2020-2021) where all of the snow fell during meteorological winter. this winter had almost 34 more inches of snow than last winter (4.8” vs 38.6”). this month brings to mind 2019. that year had a 90° day in October for the first time in a long time and 2021 had an 80° day in March for the first time in a long time.

Harry

William,

First I assume you mean measurable snow happening only during meteorological winter. A trace did fall during March and meteorological winter ends on March 1. And last year we had traces in March and April (and on May 9!)

Second, I did some digging was surprised it was so long back the last time that there were back to back above normal Marches given the trend in the "global warming" era for many more above normal months than below normal ones.

Using the 1981-2010 March norm of 42.5 degrees, it looks like the last consecutive above normal Marches were 2002-04 when March was above normal for THREE consecutive years (44.1, 43.1 and 43.5 degrees respectively).

The last time consecutive Marches were more than a degree above normal like they were in 2020-2021 goes a lot further back, it looks like it was 1990-91 (which were 45.1 and 44.6 degrees).

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