March to remember: Ann Arbor temperatures warmest on record
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
According to Dennis Kahlbaum, University of Michigan weather observer, the normal mean temperature for March is 36.7 degrees, but this year’s was 50.7 — 14 degrees above the norm.
Kahlbaum said the March temperatures broke record after record, including becoming the warmest March since recorded weather observation began in the area 130 years ago.
The previous warmest March on record was in 1945 at 48.1 degrees.
Several other records were broken in March, including eight new record-high maximum temperatures and five new record-high minimum temperatures: Number of consecutive days above 60 (old record, 10; new record, 13); number of consecutive days above 70, (old record, 6; new record, 10); number of consecutive days above 80 (old record, 1; new record, 3); earliest date above 80 degrees (old record, March 24; new record, March 20)
The warmest day put the thermometer at 85 degrees on March 22.
Even with the higher-than-normal temperatures, the Ann Arbor area still saw some snowfall throughout the month. Snowfall accumulated to 1.8 inches in March, according to Kahlbaum, compared with the average of 8.5 inches.
Kalbaum said March 2012 ranks as the 28th least snowy since records began in 1880.
And it wasn't just the Ann Arbor area. All four National Weather Service offices around Michigan are reporting a record-shattering month, according to an MLive report.
For those wondering why March was so warm, Frank Marsik, associate research Scientist and lecturer at U-M's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Department, offered an answer.
"While it can be complicated," Marsik explained, "it largely comes down to the position of the jet stream of air up in the atmosphere. It tended to be far to the north, keeping the cold arctic air up in northern Canada. That allowed the warmer air to come up from the southern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico, giving us that warm March."
Marsik added the jet stream being more northern than usual brought more than just sunshine and high temperatures.
"If you were to open up a textbook and look at what conditions are necessary for strong storms and tornadoes, a lot of things you'd check off that list weren’t present that day. One of the key things that was present though is that warm humid air we were talking about."
For updated weather conditions and forecasts anytime, visit AnnArbor.com's weather page.