Historically Warm March

Welcome to Spring in Wisconsin!  It is unusual to go from having nearly a foot or more of snow on the ground in parts of the area and less than three weeks later watching it vanish, but that's what happens when a blocking weather pattern sets up across the country.  In our case the an upper level ridge developed across the eastern 2/3rds of the country and has held it's own since back on March 15th.  Thus the warm air that is usually confined down in the southern US has been able to roll into the Upper Midwest. All in all 11 record highs have been reached in Wausau, which as the graphic below notes, is the most ever in any single month.  In addition, we have set a record with 9 days in a row of record high temps. The other time this happened, back in July 1936.  In addition, there were 7 days in 1910 when highs hit 70 degrees or higher, however not all of those days were record highs.

It should be noted that the high on 3/21 did manage to sneak up to 76 degrees after I made the graphic, along with a tied record high of 71 on 3/22. That aside, we turned cooler toward the end of the month with highs that struggled to get out of the 30s.

Some of the questions we have been getting in the Weather Lab is will this warm weather last for the rest of the season and how could it relate to summer? To answer the first questions, let's all take a moment to remember we do reside in Wisconsin & the calendar still says it is March. Although I am confident we'll finish this month off without any additional snowfall, I would hedge my bets for April. Odds are it will get chilly enough, even if just for a day or two for the flakes to possibly fly again. Looking ahead to the summer season, the jury is still out on how that will shape up. If we do get a fair amount of wet weather during the spring, that tends to mean more humid conditions (sort of like last summer) along with temps that may not get above 90 too often (yet it managed to be in the 90s quite a few times in 2011). On the other hand, dry conditions make it a whole lot easier to heat up, and if that happens, there is the potential for a few very warm/hot segments to summer. But once again, time will tell what we could be setting the table for once the later stages of May roll around.

Until then, enjoy the warm weather while it is around and don't get too ahead of yourselves just yet in planting the garden. Sure you can get the soil loosened, but the mercury can still drop below freezing right through the middle of May in much of the region.

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