Posted: April 2, 2012
If you thought it was unusually warm last month, you were right. It was officially the warmest March on record.
According to MDA EarthSat Weather, based upon natural gas weighted Heated Degree Days (GWHDDs), the March monthly total of 387.02, shattered the previous record of 525.09 from 2007. “The core of the warmth settled over the Midwest for much of the month and created anomalies in excess of 15F. Chicago closed out the month carrying an average temperature of 53.5F, 15.5F above their monthly normal, and an incredible 4.9F warmer than any other March on record (previous record from 1910 & 1945).”
Other cities which saw record breaking warmth included Minneapolis with an average of 48.3F or 15.5F above normal; St. Louis was nearly 15 degrees higher; Indianapolis was 14.3F higher; and Milwaukee was up nearly 14 degrees over normal.
Cities that set all-time records for March high temps also included Cincinnati, Cleveland, Des Moines, Detroit, Kansas City, and Nashville. According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature in Des Moines of 55.7 beat the old record of 51.5 (set in 1910) by over degrees, “the widest margin by which a monthly temperature record has ever been broken at Des Moines.”
Not surprisingly, planting is ahead of schedule in the first crop progress report out from USDA, but not by too much. Overall, just one percent ahead of last year and the five year average with three percent of the corn planted nationwide. “But what’s notable is we see some planting taking place in Illinois, five percent of the crop planted,” said USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey. “Even more remarkable as you head to the west with Missouri at seven percent. But at the top of the list for the shock factor is that Michigan planted two percent of its corn by April 1st.” Indiana, Nebraska and Ohio have an early start with one percent planted. In the south, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky are ahead of normal, but Texas is actually a bit behind schedule with less than half the crop planted.
While April has started off like June with temperatures reaching 90 degrees in some areas of the Midwest, the weather watchers are predicting that the pattern is about to come to an end with more mild and seasonable numbers ahead for the rest of April.