Temps across lower 48 8.6 degrees above average
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Every state in the country broke at least one record high during March, and 25 states east of the Rockies reported their all-time warmest March readings on record.
For the contiguous 48 states as a whole, March was also the warmest on record, at 8.6 degrees above the breaking the old record (1910) by .5 degrees.
The National Climatic Data Center reports that it was second-largest single-month departure from average temperatures, after January 2006. And despite a lingering La Niña, which often has a cooling influence, the first quarter of 2012 is also being reported as the warmest on record.
Hundreds of locations across the country broke their all-time March records, with a total of 15,272 record highs set at weather stations across the USA. Only California, Washington and Oregon reported near-average or below-average temperatures — along with Alaska, which reported its 10-coolest March on record.
Nationally, precipitation was .33 inches above average, with abundant moisture in the previously drought-stricken southern plains and Pacific Northwest, while dry conditions were reported from the interior West, Northeast and Florida. Colorado recorded its driest March on record, leading to early drought concerns.
The warm conditions across the East contributed to an extraordinary early tornado season, with 233 twisters reported. The average number of tornadoes for March is 80.
The March heat wave was the culmination of warm winter across much of the U.S. East of the Rockies, 25 states reported their warmest first quarter on record, including many major cities across the region: Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C. all recorded record warmth. None of the contiguous 48 states reported below average temperatures for the January through March period.