© 2019 Terry Swails

A LONG TIME COMING...

March 28, 2019

It was a long time coming but we finally reached 60 for the first time in 5 months, underlining the fact March around the Midwest had been anything but pleasant. In fact, much of the country has been battling the persistent chill. Below are the March temperature departures.

As it stands through the 27th this is the 11th coldest March in Cedar Rapids with a mean temperature of 29.6. Chilly as its been, it's nothing close to 1960 which came in at a frigid 18.1 degrees.

Only one March in the past 30 has been colder in Cedar Rapids and that was 2013 when the mean temperature was 28.9 degrees compared to this years 29.6

The cold is part of a long trend of below normal temperatures going back to the beginning of the year. Here's the yearly temperature departure for North America.

One big change from January and February despite the cold is the lack of snowfall. Here in Cedar Rapids we've had less than 2 inches. Similar amounts have been noted around the rest of my area.

Look at the March departures showing much of the Midwest with just 10-30 percent of its mean snowfall.  

The lack of March snow was a huge blessing up north where going into the month there was widespread snow cover of 2 to 4 feet. A cold snowy March would have really increased the prospects of severe spring snow melt floods. With the lack of heavy precipitation/snow and ideal thawing conditions the NWS has reduced the probabilities of extreme high end flooding on the Mississippi which has been a major concern. See the highlighted paragraph below from the NWS Quad Cities.

With all the wintry weather that's gone on the past 3 months it would be shameful not to mention Wednesday's highs which ranged from the low 60s to low 70s across Iowa.

The 64 degree high in Cedar Rapids is the warmest high here since October 22nd when we reached 66, a stretch of 155 days. It was also the first 60 degree day since Halloween.

Our next weather maker is already organizing to our southwest. Ahead of it Thursday it will be another mild day with passing clouds prevalent much of the day. While a stray shower is possible in the south Thursday it appears any significant rain will hold off until late Friday. It also looks like there will be a sharp cut-off line to the northern edge of the rain shield through Friday night. That means any significant rains are most likely going to be south of I-80. The GFS has this for amounts.

The EURO shows this for totals.

The 3k NAM has this.

While there is some potential the rain could mix with or briefly change to snow Friday night before ending, little if any accumulation is likely. By Saturday we are drying out and cooling down as high pressure builds into the Midwest. The cool dry conditions will last into early next week. Roll weather...TS

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