Who’ll Stop The Rain

By Russell Russ

For Norfolk and much of Southern New England, March was another wet
month and another winter month with very little snow. As many recent months
have been, it also was fairly high ranking for warmth. March’s warmth brought
an early end to this year’s maple syrup season and also resulted in early ice-
out dates for local ponds and lakes. After icing over in early January, most
local ponds and lakes lost their ice for good by the first week of March. This
winter was above normal for warmth, so it was no surprise to see pond ice
duration being off by two to four weeks compared to normal.
March’s low temperature of 15 degrees was observed on March 1 and the
high of 64 was observed on March 13. With a monthly mean temperature of
37.0 degrees, it was 6.3 degrees warmer than normal. There were no daily
temperature records set this month, but March did rank as Norfolk’s ninth
warmest over the last ninety-three 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 7.27 inches, 2.93 inches
above normal. This March ranked as Norfolk’s ninth wettest. Two storms
stood out for precipitation they produced, and the precipitation was rain, not
snow. Rainfall from March 5-7 totaled 2.19 inches and rainfall from March 23
totaled 2.48 inches. The rainfall on March 23 came in the form of freezing
rain. While there was a minor accretion of 0.1 inch on trees and powerlines,
there was minimal damage. Norfolk can see freezing rain during the winter
and over the years we have experienced some widespread and severe ice
storm damage. Norfolk has been fortunate in recent years to have seen only
a few relatively minor ice storms. Norfolk’s wettest March was in 1953 with
10.37 inches and the driest was in 1981 with just 0.64 inch. Through the first
quarter of 2024, the total precipitation amount was 16.99 inches, exactly five
inches above normal.
March’s monthly snowfall total of 1.2 inches was 16.3 inches below normal. It
ranked as Norfolk’s fifth least snowy March. March of 2023 was a different
story; with 31.3 inches it ranked as our twelfth snowiest. March’s “big”
snowstorm this year came on March 20 when Norfolk measured a mere one
inch from passing snow showers and squalls. 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 2023-24 winter season snowfall total through March was 42.0 inches,
40.6 inches below normal. January’s 26.2 inches makes up a majority of this
winter’s snowfall total. As many of our recent winters have been, this winter
will also be high ranking for least amount of snowfall. Norfolk’s snowiest
winter was 1955-1956 with 177.4 inches and the least snowy winter was
2015-2016 with 35.5 inches.
It was a weak winter. Time to move on to spring. April is typically Norfolk’s
transition month from winter white and brown to springtime green and
colorful. April this year, through two-thirds of the month, was fairly normal
temperature-wise. Precipitation was nearly an inch above normal. April had a
little bit of everything. It had warm and cool temperatures, rain and even
some snow. April’s snowfall total of 3.5 inches was a little below normal, but it
easily surpassed March’s monthly total. The moisture we are getting is good,
but at this point, enough is enough and we need to dry out for a while. Who’ll
stop the rain?