Last month, temperatures and precipitation in the contiguous United States averaged above normal, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

The average temperature in March was 44 degrees F, which is 1.4 degrees F above the long-term (1901-2000) average.

March precipitation, while record dry in areas like Texas, was overall 0.22 inch above the long-term average. The January — March temperatures were near-normal, while average precipitation was below-normal.

This monthly analysis, based on records dating back to 1895, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.

 

March temperature "statewide ranks" maps are available at the NCDC site.

U.S. climate highlights — March: 

• Above-normal warmth dominated much of the southern U.S. and Rocky Mountains. The largest temperature departures were in western Texas and New Mexico, which had its fifth-warmest March on record. Midland, Texas had four consecutive days — March 16–19 — of temperatures that tied existing records.

• Cooler-than-normal temperatures were present in the northern and western areas of the country. Conditions were especially cool from southwestern Minnesota across the Dakotas into eastern Montana. Within this belt, March temperatures were as much as 6 degrees below the 20th Century average.

• Precipitation varied across the country, as the west and east coasts received above normal amounts, while the central and southern United States was largely dry. Texas had its driest March on record, with a statewide average of 0.27 inch. This was 1.47 inch below its 20th Century average, and broke the previous record of 0.28 inch set in 1971. It was the third driest March in New Mexico and 10th driest in Oklahoma.

• Record warm maximum temperatures exceeded record cold minimum temperatures by a 5-to-1 ratio.

• Washington, Oregon and California had their second, fifth, and ninth wettest March on record, respectively. Regionally, it was the second wettest March on record for the Northwest. In the Northeast, Pennsylvania had its third wettest such period.