By Russell Russ
An accurate description of March’s weather this year would be that it was unremarkable. Last year it was warm, sunny and nice. If you like snow, however, last year was terrible because it was the least snowy March on record. This March was middle of the pack in just about every weather category. The month of March can have traits of both winter and spring, but this year it was stuck in between both without much of either. After finally icing over for the season around January 3-4, local ponds lost their ice around March 21-23. Comparing this to the last twenty years, this winter they iced over a little later than normal and went out a little earlier than normal. Thanks to our cold January and average cold February, ice depths during this season’s peak were thicker than in recent years.
March’s low temperature of 4 degrees was observed on March 4 and the high of 66 degrees was observed on March 18. One new record daily high temperature was set this month; the high of 57 on March 6 just surpassed 1935’s 56. There were two days with single digit lows and one day with a high temperature that topped 60 degrees. One interesting fact this month was that it was 8 degrees on the morning of March 5 and it was 57 on the afternoon of March 6. The month ended with three days with temperatures in the low teens. March is a fickle weather month. With an average monthly temperature of 33.6 degrees, it was 2.9 degrees above normal. This March came in as the nineteenth warmest March over the last 91 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 2.93 inches. This was 1.41 inches below normal, but not high ranking. The precipitation that fell was fairly evenly distributed throughout the month. There were no big rain or snow storms this month. 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 2022, the total precipitation amount was 10.50 inches, 1.49 inches below normal. For total precipitation, we are 2.73 inches above where we were last year at this time.
March’s snowfall total of 10.0 inches was 7.5 inches below normal. The largest storm snowfall was 4.8 inches from March 9. The peak snow depth during the month was 6 inches, occurring for just a few days early in the month. There was no snow on the ground for the entire second half of the month. Once again, not a good month for snow lovers. The least snowy March on record was last year (2021) with just 0.1 inch. 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 2022, the total snowfall amount was 37.8 inches, 20.5 inches below normal. The 2021-2022 winter season (October-March) snowfall total through March was a meager 43.4 inches, a whopping 39.2 inches below normal. Through March, this winter ranks as the third least for snowfall over the last 91 years. The official winter season runs through May and Norfolk can see snowfall in April and even May, but it is looking like this winter will have a very high rank for least amount of snowfall. The season’s largest snowstorm, from late January 16 to early January 18, produced just 7.2 inches. All of these dismal snow figures are not what you would expect from the Icebox of Connecticut.
Through April 20, April was fairly normal for temperature, below normal for snowfall, but was over two inches above normal for total precipitation (mostly rain). The big weather story of April will likely be the strong thunderstorms that rolled into town during the afternoon of April 14. A strong cold front with thunder, lightning, hail, heavy rain and straight line winds, burst into town around 4:30 pm. The storm intensified right as it approached town. Norfolk was the only town in the state with considerable damage. There was considerable localized severe damage caused by multiple snapped and uprooted trees. Powerlines were knocked down and several roads, including Rt. 44 and Rt. 272, were closed while the damage was cleared and the lines were repaired. Most damage was near the center of town, making this one of the more impactful storms to hit town in quite some time.