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Date: 3/25/2013

Title: What a Difference a Year Makes

Over the past few weeks we have been discussing how March was likely going to be a rough month for many areas of the Uunited States. Other than the Desert Southwest and far west, most of the nation has experienced much below normal temperatures and in many areas much above normal snowfall.

This past weekend brought another winter storm to portions of the central Plains with eastern Colorado, Kansas and Missouri picking up anywhere from 6 to 15 inches of new snowfall. Goodland, Kan., for example has received 19.8 inches of snow for the month of March and is over a half of an inch above normal with precipitation for the year so far. Record cold and snowfall has also occurred this month in many areas of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley areas. 


This month has been in stark contrast to March 2012 when a very warm and dry weather pattern spread over the USA.  March 2013 is literally the “polar” opposite of March 2012. The maps below highlight the departure from normal from March 1 to March 22 2012 and for the same time period of 2013.

 Notice the very warm temperatures across all locations from the Rockies east. This also corresponded with much drier than normal conditions. The very warm and dry March was a large contributor to the very dry spring and summer in many areas of the U.S. during the spring and sSummer seasons of 2012. The warmth and dryness in March led to very poor soil moisture conditions than continued into the rest of the spring and summer of 2012 for many areas.

In stark contrast to last year, see the departure from normal from March 1, to March 22, 2013 below. Before the month is over, many of the below normal areas will show even more cold.


While March 2013 may be frustrating folks with winter hanging on tough with cold temperatures and snow in many areas, the cold and stormy month is good news for several reasons, especially in some of the key drought areas of eastern Colorado, Kansas and some areas of southern Nebraska. Those areas will benefit from much better soil moisture conditions heading into April.

The last week of March and the first few days of April will likely bring more cold and snows to many areas that have seen the stormy weather so far this month.