Midwest Overview - March 2013
What a Difference a Year Makes
Just one year ago the Midwest recorded the warmest March in the records going back to 1895
(Figure 1). Thousands of record high temperatures were set across the region in March 2012 (Figure 2). This March was a very different story with temperatures averaging below normal across the region
(Figure 3). Compared to last March, temperatures were about 20°F cooler in 2013 (Figure 4). Last March the region was about 15°F warmer than normal and this March was about 6°F below normal
(Figure 5). Daily temperature records in March 2013 were mostly record lows (Figure 6). In fact, March temperatures were very similar to the temperatures recorded this past winter
(Figure 7). The very early spring conditions experienced in 2012 were nowhere to be found in 2013 as winter weather extended through March with cold and snowy conditions.
Plentiful Snow in March
Precipitation totals for March varied from less than 50% of normal in southern Michigan to more than 150% of normal in northern Minnesota and southern Missouri (Figure 8). The water in the western parts of the region fell on areas affected by drought
(Figure 9). In Missouri and southeast Iowa the moisture percolated into the soils, but further north, deep frost prevented infiltration into the soils. The moisture in these frost bound area led to runoff which raised river and lake levels but did little to replenish needed soil moisture. Daily precipitation records were set particularly during many winter storms that also set numerous snowfall records. With several winter storms traversing the region in March, snowfall totals were above average in much of the region. Some Midwest locations were below normal, but larger areas received 10" to 15" more snow than normal in March (Figure 10).
Severe Weather Limited to Southern Midwest
As a side benefit of the cold conditions, severe weather was suppressed across the region. Large hail was reported on four days (16th, 17th, 24th, and 30th) in March and only the 24th also had reports of thunderstorm wind damage and tornadoes. The severe weather reports were limited to the southern parts of Missouri and Kentucky. The lone tornado report came from Pulaski County, Kentucky where a NWS storm survey later confirmed an EF-1 tornado that damaged several buildings and trees.