State Climatologist Justin Glisan.

Iowa’s weather during March was a far cry from the bitter cold of February.

State climatologist Justin Glisan says the state ended the month with an average temperature of 42 degrees, which is six degrees warmer than normal. Precipitation for March, including snow and rain, was also above-average, with southwest Iowa getting up to an inch more than usual.

“Which is good for that part of the state, given drought conditions,” Glisan says. “Also, in north-central Iowa, we had some improvement in the U.S. Drought Monitor depiction, given that we did see timely rainfalls on several days during March. So, the statewide average was about 2.7 inches and that’s a little over six-tenths of an inch above average.”

While it’s been chilly all week with lows dipping into the 20s, the forecast calls for a warming trend to begin tomorrow, with temperatures promising to bound into the 60s and 70s this weekend.

“We are definitely seeing a signal for warmer-than-average temperatures and we’re kind of see-sawing back and forth in terms of precipitation,” Glisan says. “There is a signal in the six-to-ten day outlook for wetter-than-normal conditions across the state, and then we look to dry out as we get into the second week of April.”

The entire spring season may be trending toward more summer-like weather. “We are seeing a strong signal for warmer-than-average temperatures for the April-May-June seasonal time slice,” Glisan says. “We’re still in that La Nina phase but we do have a 60-percent chance of transitioning into what we call the enso-neutral phase, which is right between El Nino and La Nina.”

Forecasters say parts of Iowa may reach 80 degrees next week for the first time in 2021 and the first time since last fall.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)