Big Late Season Snowstorm

By Russell Russ

March’s weather this year was highlighted by the big snowstorm that affected
the region during the middle of the month. March was running about average
for temperature, precipitation and snowfall up to the middle of the month.
Weather patterns and conditions finally worked out for the Northeast to get a
good old fashioned Nor’easter snowstorm. Patterns just worked against their
formation for most of this winter season. The total snowfall measured at the
weather station was 19.7 inches. An impressive two day total. Totals reached
24 inches to 30 inches from North Norfolk into the Berkshires and southern
Vermont. March’s monthly snowfall currently makes up roughly half of this
winter’s total snowfall amount.
March’s high temperature of 57 degrees was observed on March 22 and the
low of 18 was observed on March 31. With a monthly mean temperature of
33.2 degrees, March was 2.5 degrees warmer than normal, but only ranked
as Norfolk’s 22 nd warmest March. There were no daily temperature records
set this month. 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 4.21 inches. This was just
0.13 inch below normal. Roughly half of this month’s total precipitation, 2.03
inches, came from the mid-month snowstorm. 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 2023, the total precipitation amount was 11.59 inches, just 0.40
inch below normal. We may not be doing so well with snowfall, but we are
getting precipitation.
March’s monthly snowfall total of 31.3 inches was 13.8 inches above normal.
It was Norfolk’s 12 th snowiest March over the last 92 years. The largest storm
snowfall from March, and for the entire winter season, was the 19.7 inches
from the March 13-15 storm. Snow on ground depths ranged from 5 inches to
a peak of 26 inches during the month. There was snow on the ground every
day of the month. The March with the most snowfall, also the snowiest month
of any month on record for Norfolk, was in 1956 with 73.6 inches. The least
snowy March on record was 2021 with just 0.1 inch.
The 2022-2023 winter season (October-March) snowfall total through March

was 63.3 inches, 19.3 inches below normal. Below normal, but fairly
respectable and not even in the top 15 least snowy winters, with much thanks
to March for its solid snow effort. Norfolk’s snowiest winter was 1955-1956
with 177.4 inches and the least snowy winter was 2015-2016 with 35.5
inches. Last winter, 2021-2022, ranked as Norfolk’s 3 rd least snowy winter
with 43.4 inches.
April started out with some very nice springtime weather. For a couple of days
during the middle of the month it felt more summer-like with record heat.
Norfolk reached 83 degrees on April 13 and 87 on April 14, both record high
temperatures for those dates. Precipitation, however, was very low. Through
April 21, this April was ranking as the driest and 2 nd warmest April on record.
Temperatures are forecasted to be cooler than normal for the remainder of
the month, but this April will still likely end up being highly ranked for warmth.
Considerable rainfall on April 22-23 will greatly add to this month’s
precipitation total and likely make it closer to normal by the end of the month.

Big March 2023 Snowstorm
By Russell Russ
The first two weeks of March were fairly normal with normal temperatures and
even several days with snowfall. Due to this winter’s prevailing weather patterns,
Southern New England had not seen any big Nor’easter-type storms. That all
changed on March 13.
The storm began slowly with light snow showers during the day on March 13.
There was just a dusting by 6:00 pm. The snow then fell moderate to heavy after
6:00 pm and stayed that way until the early evening of March 14. By 8:00 am
March 14, the total was 8.6 inches. By 2:00 pm, the total was 13.5 inches. By 8:00
am March 15, the total snowfall reached 19.7 inches (at Norfolk’s NWS weather
station). The heaviest snow fell from 6:00 pm March 13 to 8:00 pm March 14. As
recorded at the weather station, two miles southwest of the center of town, the total
snowfall amount was an impressive 19.7 inches. There were reports of 25 inches or
more in North Norfolk and over the border into Massachusetts. It was a classic
elevation driven snowstorm with higher elevations getting more snow. Lower
elevations got mostly rain. There were incredible snow depth differences in just a
few miles distance. Elevation means everything with these types of storms.
Due to the amount of snow and the fact that the snow was heavy and wet, it hung
on trees and power lines causing numerous issues around town. Several roads were
left unplowed for a day or more due to plow trucks not being able to pass downed
or low hanging wires. At the same time, the power crews had a difficult time
accessing the sites due to unplowed roads. Fortunately the official weather
observer has a 4-wheel drive truck, allowing him to get to the weather station, even
in big snowstorms.
Adding some additional excitement to the storm, Jon Barbagallo from Norfolk’s
Emergency Management Office put on a Snowfall Contest to see who could guess
the correct amount of snowfall (as recorded at Norfolk’s weather station). Snowfall
contests have been done a few times in recent years and they always draw many
contestants. The winner for this storm’s contest guessed the exact correct total of
19.7 inches.
This March storm produced the largest snowfall total Norfolk has seen in many
years. It was a good one, but only ranks as fifth for March snowstorms. Norfolk
has seen some big March storms. The largest was March 22-23, 1977 when 26.5
inches was recorded from one storm.

The storm definitely helped this winter’s bleak snowfall totals. Prior to the storm,
with 10.4 inches included from early March, Norfolk’s winter total was 42.4
inches, 40.2 inches below normal. After the storm, with March’s total of 30.1
inches, the season total is up to a more respectable 62.1 inches, but still 20.5 inches
below normal. Can one storm save winter? On paper maybe it can.