July 29, 2014

March was colder and drier than normal

We’re two weeks into spring but parts of northern Iowa will be looking a lot more like winter later today as several inches of snow are in the forecast.

State climatologist Harry Hillaker is finished compiling the weather data for March and says the just-ended month was much chillier than normal for Iowa. “Temperatures were running about six-and-a-half degrees colder than usual for March,” Hillaker says. “It ranks as the 22nd coldest March in 142 years of records, although just last year, March of 2013 was colder than this one.”

He says we’ve had six months in a row now of colder-than-normal months in Iowa and the trend is continuing into April. Precipitation was also off during March as it was exceptionally dry. “Statewide, we had an average of only about 83-hundreds of an inch of precipitation which is about one-third the usual amount for the month,” he says. “That ranks as the 11th driest March on record among 142 years of records.”

April is already starting off colder-than-normal though the long dry spell may be coming to an end. “It does look like, at least in the short term, next week or so, we may have precipitation amounts somewhat above normal, which is something we haven’t had for some time,” Hillaker says. “Some of that could still be coming in the form of snow, especially over in northern parts of the state.”

A few areas of the state, like Sidney and Glenwood in far southwest Iowa, are reporting last month was their driest-ever March.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)