March unseasonably warm for most of the nation


WASHINGTON – March 2007 was more than 5 degrees F warmer than average throughout the contiguous U.S., making it the second-warmest March on record, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
Precipitation was above average in much of the center of the nation, while the Southeast and much of the West were drier than average. The global average March temperature was the fifth warmest on record.
Temperatures. For the contiguous U.S., last month’s average temperature of 48.1 degrees made it the second-warmest March on record (based on preliminary data). It was 5.6 degrees F warmer than the 20th-century mean of 42.5 degrees.
Only March 1910 was warmer in the 113-year national record.
Statewide temperatures were much warmer than average from parts of the Midwest and Deep South to the Northern Plains and West Coast. Most Northeast states and Florida were near average, while no contiguous U.S. state was cooler than average for the month.
The month tied for the warmest on record for Oklahoma. More than 2,500 daily record-high temperatures were set from the East to the West Coast during the month.
Single day. On March 13 alone, more than 250 daily high temperature records were set. The earliest high of 90 degrees occurred in Las Vegas that day.
For March, more than 200 daily record highs of 90 degrees or greater were registered in California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and areas of the Southeast.
The warmer-than-average March temperatures helped reduce residential energy needs for the nation. Using the Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index, the nation’s residential energy demand was approximately 11 percent lower than what would have occurred under average climate conditions for the month.
Alaska had its third coldest March on record, with a temperature 12.5 degrees cooler than average.
Precipitation. Precipitation was above average from parts of the Northeast to the upper Midwest and from the northern Plains to Texas and New Mexico.
Much-needed rain helped end drought in large parts of Texas. For Texas, it was the wettest March on record. Across the Deep South and Southeast, drier-than-average conditions prevailed for a second straight month, worsening drought conditions.
Six states were much drier than average from Louisiana and Arkansas to Florida. It was the second-driest March on record for Mississippi and the third driest for Alabama.

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Next step: Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.