Winter holding on

By Russell Russ

The month’s low temperature of 5 degrees was observed on March 3. The high temperature of 61 degrees was observed on March 18. No temperature records were set this month. The average mean temperature was 31.3 degrees, 0.7 degree above normal. Last year was Norfolk’s third warmest March on record and five of our ten warmest Marches have occurred since 1995, but this year was just about normal as far as temperatures go.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 6.80 inches, 2.29 inches above normal. It was the eleventh wettest March in the last 80 years. The wettest March was in 1953 when 10.37 inches were measured. This March may have been a wet one, but last year was even wetter. Last March with 7.51 inches was the sixth wettest March on record.

March’s snowfall total was only 4.9 inches, 13.2 inches below normal. It was Norfolk’s eighth lowest March snowfall total. The record for least snowfall in March was in 1946 when only half an inch fell. Last year was the fifth least amount of snow recorded in March, with just 2.7 inches falling. Five of our ten least snowy Marches have occurred since 1995.

We can get some rather large snowfall totals in March, and you don’t have to go that far back to find them. We received over 30 inches of snow in both 2005 and 2001. Our greatest monthly snowfall for any month came in March of 1956 when 73.6 inches fell. Oh, what a fickle month March can be.

Although many locations lost snow cover by the middle of the month, there was snow on the ground at the weather station everyday in March with depths ranging from 24 inches down to nine inches. Most local lakes and larger ponds were still ice covered throughout the month. In 2009 and 2010, we lost our snow cover and pond ice by mid to late March.

The snowfall total for this winter season, October through March, is now at 94.7 inches, 10.5 inches above normal and 3.9 inches above our average entire season amount. For the first quarter of 2010 we are 17.9 inches above normal for snowfall and 2.92 inches above normal for total precipitation. As far as groundwater is concerned, we are off to a good start in 2011.