Record Least Snowfall for the Month of March

By Russell Russ

An accurate description of March’s weather would certainly be unusual. March weather was high ranking for temperature, lack of precipitation and it topped the rankings for least snowfall. If you were looking for sunny skies, warm temperatures and hardly any snow, then March was your month. March is not typically described in this way. After a very traditional cold and very snowy February, it was quite the rebound for March to come in so pleasant. As can happen in March though, there were many windy days. This March had more than its fair share of wind. Nothing too dramatic, just an abundance of windy days (and nights).

All local ponds and lakes lost their ice by the third to fourth week of the month. Tobey Pond and Wangum Lake both went out during the day on March 26. The ice-out dates this year were about average for the last twenty years. The lack of a real January thaw and February’s cold and snow helped make the ice thicker this year than it has been in recent years. The thicker ice also likely contributed to it staying longer this year than in recent years. Smaller ponds formed ice, and kept it, by December 15 (about average), the larger water bodies did not ice over until January 10-12 (a little later than average).

March’s low temperature of 7 degrees was observed on March 2 and the high of 72 degrees was observed on March 26. Two new record daily high temperatures were set this month; a high of 71 on March 25 (was 66 in 1987) and a high of 72 on March 26 (was 68 in 1945). With an average monthly temperature of 34.2 degrees, it was 3.5 degrees above normal. This March was tied with March 1991 as Norfolk’s sixteenth warmest March over the last 90 years. Norfolk’s warmest March was in 2012 with 41.8 degrees, the coldest was in 1960 with 21.2 degrees.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 2.24 inches. This was 2.10 inches below normal. It was Norfolk’s tenth driest March and makes for the third month of 2021 that was below normal for total precipitation. Norfolk’s driest March was in 1981 with 0.64 inch, the wettest was in 1953 with 10.37 inches. Through the first quarter of 2021, the total precipitation amount was 7.77, 4.22 inches below normal. Once again, a deficit is slowly growing.

The lack of snowfall was this month’s big surprise. March’s snowfall total of just 0.1 inch was 17.4 inches below normal and ranks this March as the least snowy March on record. The old record was 0.5 inch from March 1946. The March with the most snowfall, also the snowiest month of any month on record for Norfolk, was in 1956 with 73.6 inches.

Through the first quarter of 2021, the total snowfall amount was 47.5 inches, 10.8 inches below normal. The 2020-2021 winter season (October-March) snowfall total through March was 71.6 inches. This was 11.0 inches below normal. February’s snowfall contribution of 35.0 inches produced nearly half of this season’s snowfall.

Through April 20, April was looking fairly normal for temperature, precipitation and snowfall. A 4.6 inch snowfall on April 15-16 was a surprise, but April’s average monthly snowfall amount is 6.1 inches, so spring snow does happen regularly here in Norfolk. Snow can also happen in May here in the Icebox of Connecticut and because of this, the season snowfall total will not be finalized until the end of May.