NJWO Blog – March 2016 Weather summary – Gaithersburg 2 WNW Maryland

by Kevin Shaw, Observer in charge

Average high temperature 61.7° (+ 7.5°)
Average low temperature 40.3° (+ 8.5°)
Mean temperature 51.0° (+ 8.0°)
Precipitation 1.87″ (- 2.11″)
Greatest daily amount (date) 0.43″ (28)
Year to date precipitation 10.97″ (+ 0.95″)
Snowfall 1.6″ (- 2.5″)
Greatest daily amount (date) 0.8″ (3,4)
Greatest depth of snow (date) 1″ (3)
Seasonal snowfall (2015-2016) 37.9″ (+9.5″)
High temperature for the month (date) 81° (9)
Low temperature for the month (date) 26° (3)
Highest barometric pressure (date) 30.43″ (30)
Lowest barometric pressure (date) 29.53″ (1,2)
Peak wind gust (date/direction): 26 (28/WSW)
Heating degree days for the month: 435
Cooling degree days for the month: 2
Greatest diurnal range (date): 40.0° (9)
Least diurnal range (date) 5.8° (14)

Fog days: 4
Snow days: 4
Glaze: 0
Thunder: 0
Sunny/clear days: 10 Partly Cloudy days: 11 Cloudy days: 10

Days with measurable precipitation (=>.01″) = 9
Days with maximum temperatures of 32 or less = 0
Days with minimum temperatures of 32 or less = 6

by Kevin Shaw, observer in charge

March 2016 was warm and dry, generally speaking. It was the
second warmest March ever, only surpassed by the record warm March of 2012. Only two record high temperatures were set
during the month, with the highest reading of the month of 81° on the 9th and 79° on the 10th setting these records, with a tied record high temperature later in the month of 78° on the 24th. Record high minimum temperature records were set on
the 10th (55°) and 11th (51°). No other temperature records
were set or tied. On the precipitation side of things, it was the seventh driest March ever – the last March that was drier was in that really warm 2012 mentioned previously. No daily
record precipitation amounts were set. The 9 days of
measurable rainfall was only a bit below the long term
average of about 11.8. The paltry 1.6″ of snow was the
least amount in March since that warm 2012 month.
Miscellaneous items for the month include a near record
6 days with minimum temperatures of 32° or lower, and
also the lowest value for the month of 26° is one of the
highest values ever recorded for the coldest March day
in a given particular year. Most all other monthly
statistics were near average including a nice balance of
10 cloudy,11 partly cloudy and 10 clear days.

Three small precipitation events occurred during the month, but did not set or tie any daily records (0.82″ on the 13th-15th, 0.35″ on the 19th, and 0.43″ on the 28th). The last one of the month occurred on the day of my highest peak wind gust of the month which did not occur during the precipitation but rather on the back side of the front when temperatures were dropping and pressure
differences were the greatest in the area. My highest pressure readings of the month occurred that day and the following 2 days. The first precipitation event featured our longest lasting rainfall spanning over 2 1/2 days, and at the end featured our lowest pressure reading of the month. The precipitation event on the 19th was a short event associated with the usual cold frontal passage, with a bit of mixed precipitation falling at the end of the event.

The average maximum temperature for the month was 61.7° (+7.5°), the average minimum temperature was 40.3° (+ 8.5°). The resultant mean average temperature for the month was 51.0° (+ 8.0°). Once again a nearly record breaking warm month that has been a more common occurrence the past few years.

The month’s total precipitation amount of 1.87″ was 2.11″ below the normal February amount of 3.98″. Precipitation was spread out on 9 of the 31 days of March, with no really notable prolonged dry or wet periods. 9 days of measurable precipitation for the month was below the long-term normal amount of 11.8 days. Total snowfall for the month of 1.6″ was 2.5″ below the long term March average of 4.1″. There were only two days with measurable snow and two days with just trace amounts.

The month’s highest barometric pressure reading of 30.43″ on the 30th occurred during our last of our warm spells of the month. The lowest pressure reading of the month was 29.53″ on the 1st and 2nd occurred during a cold, damp period with light precipitation amounts that featured our only measurable snow of the month on the 3rd-4th.

The distribution of 10 sunny, 11 partly cloudy and 10 cloudy days did not really tell the story of the drier than normal month. The cloudy days just did not produce significant precipitation amounts during the entire month.

There were 435 heating degree days (HDD) and 2 cooling degree days. There were an about normal amount of 4 days with fog observed with no other special observation phenomena noted. The peak wind gust during the month was 26 MPH out of the WSW on the 28th, behind a strong frontal passage with the greatest pressure differences of the month, as noted earlier.

My maximum temperature frequencies included 1 day of 80° or more, 8 days between 70° and 79°, 12 days between 60° and 69°, 4 days between 50° and 59°, 5 days between 40° and 49°, and 1 day between 30° and 39°. On the minimum temperature frequency side of things, there were 2 days between 20° and 29°, 11 days between 30° and 39°, 14 days between 40° and 49°, and 4 days with minimums between 50° and 59°.

The diurnal range average was below normal (21.4° vs the normal of 22.4°). The max daily range of 40.0° occurred on the 9th during our big warmup of the month to the highest temperature of the month (81°- 41°). There were an additional 7 days with daily ranges in the 30° – 39° range. The lowest daily temperature range of 5.8° occurred on the 14th during our longest rainy period of the month. There was a total of 5 days during March with daily temperature ranges of less than 10°.

March 2016 wound up the winter season with rather confusing signals with a little bit of everything, but there was a turn to warmer weather with a preponderence of warm, dry days mostly. All told, not a very interesting month for me. Stay tuned in a few weeks for the April report. We have started out pretty cold and windy so far, but that is bound to change to more springlike weather the rest of the month.

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