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March 2010
North Country Monthly Climate Summary

TEMPERATURE SUMMARY...

MARCH WAS A VERY WARM MONTH ACROSS THE NORTH COUNTRY. MANY LOCATIONS SAW AVERAGE MONTHLY TEMPERATURES SOME 7 TO 9 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. IN FACT, BURLINGTON TIED FOR THE 5TH WARMEST MARCH ON RECORD. TWENTY-NINE OUT OF 31 DAYS WERE WARMER THAN NORMAL IN BURLINGTON. THE WARMEST DAYS OF THE MONTH WERE THE 18TH AND 19TH, WHEN MASSENA, BURLINGTON, AND MONTPELIER ALL SET NEW RECORD DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURES. ON MARCH 19TH, BURLINGTON'S OLD DAILY RECORD MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE OF 60 DEGREES HAD BEEN SET WAY BACK IN 1894, ONLY TO BE SHATTERED WHEN THE TEMPERATURE REACHED 66 DEGREES, 116 YEARS LATER. MONTPELIER ALSO CRUSHED THEIR OLD RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THAT DATE; 57 DEGREES IN 1968 WAS SURPASSED WHEN THE TEMPERATURE HIT 64 DEGREES IN 2010. THE ONLY REAL COLD WAS LATE IN THE MONTH, ON THE 26TH AND 27TH, WHEN MANY LOCATIONS DROPPED INTO TEENS AT NIGHT WHILE STRUGGLING TO REACH THE MID 30S DURING THE DAY. SARANAC LAKE, ONE OF THE COLDEST PLACES IN THE NORTH COUNTRY, SAW A HIGH OF ONLY 26 DEGREES ON THE 26TH, WHILE THE LOW DIPPED TO 4 DEGREES ABOVE ZERO THE MORNING OF THE 27TH. TEMPERATURES QUICKLY REBOUNDED HOWEVER, TOPPING OUT AT 45-55 DEGREES BY THE 31ST.

TEMPERATURE STATISTICS ACROSS THE NORTH COUNTRY FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH...

  Burlington Montpelier Massena Saint Johnsbury
Avg. Temp 38.0 37.1 37.5 37.3
Departure +7.3 +8.0 +8.6 +6.3
Highest 66 ON 19TH 64 ON 19TH 61 ON 18TH, 19TH 66 ON 19TH
Lowest 14 ON 27TH 13 ON 27TH 14 ON 27TH 11 ON 27TH

BELOW ARE DAILY TEMPERATURE GRAPHS FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH FOR EACH BURLINGTON, MONTPELIER, MASSENA, AND SAINT JOHNSBURY.

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PRECIPITATION SUMMARY...

MONTHLY PRECIPITATION WAS GENERALLY NEAR OR SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL ACROSS MOST OF THE NORTH COUNTRY. THE EXCEPTION IS FAR NORTHERN NEW YORK, WHERE MONTHLY TOTALS WERE WELL BELOW NORMAL. THE MONTHLY NUMBERS BELIE JUST HOW DRY MUCH OF MARCH WAS, THOUGH, AS MOST OF THE PRECIPITATION FELL IN JUST TWO EVENTS. HIGH PRESSURE REIGNED ACROSS THE AREA THROUGH MOST OF THE PERIOD, WHICH KEPT MOST MAJOR STORM SYSTEMS SHUNTED WELL TO THE SOUTH. AS A RESULT, THE FIRST THREE WEEKS WERE MAINLY DRY OVER MUCH VERMONT AND NORTHERN NEW YORK. THE FIRST MAJOR WEATHER EVENT OCCURRED ON THE 22ND THROUGH 24TH, WHEN LOW PRESSURE SLID ACROSS THE MID ATLANTIC AND OFF THE NEW ENGLAND COAST. SOUTHERN SECTIONS OF THE FORECAST AREA SAW THE MOST RAIN WITH THIS SYSTEM, GENERALLY 1.5 TO 2 INCHES, WITH ISOLATED HIGHER AMOUNTS. BOTH SAINT JOHNSBURY AND MONTPELIER SET DAILY RAINFALL RECORDS ON THE 23RD, REPORTING 1.06 INCHES AND 1.13 INCHES, RESPECTIVELY. MEANWHILE, THOSE LOCATIONS FURTHER NORTH AND WEST AND THEREFORE MORE REMOVED FROM THE LOW RECEIVED BARELY A THIRD OF AN INCH. A SECOND STORM SYSTEM SOON FOLLOWED NEARLY IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FIRST, THOUGH IT DID NOT BRING QUITE AS MUCH MOISTURE TO THE AREA. RAINFALL TOTALS FOR THIS SECOND STORM WERE GENERALLY 1.25 TO 1.75 INCHES IN SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF VERMONT, TAPERING TO LESS THAN A HALF OF AN INCH ACROSS NORTHWESTERN NEW YORK. GIVEN THE OVERALL LACK OF PRECIPITATION AND THE VERY MILD TEMPERATURES, SNOWFALL ACROSS THE NORTH COUNTRY WAS NOT SURPRISINGLY WELL BELOW NORMAL. THE CHAMPLAIN AND SAINT LAWRENCE VALLEYS SAW 1.5 INCHES OR LESS FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH. WHILE THERE WAS A BIT MORE SNOWFALL IN THE HIGHER TERRAIN, THE ADIRONDACKS AND GREEN MOUNTAINS STILL RECEIVED FAR LESS SNOW THAN IS NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. MOST MOUNTAIN LOCATIONS SAW LESS THAN 6 INCHES, WITH A FEW REPORTING UP TO 8 INCHES.

PRECIPITATION STATISTICS ACROSS THE NORTH COUNTRY FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH...

  Burlington Montpelier Massena Saint Johnsbury
Monthly Total " 2.85 3.46 1.09 2.75
Departure +0.53 +0.98 -1.36 +0.18
Greatest 24hr 1.01 ON 23RD 1.13 ON 23RD 0.36 ON 29TH 1.06 ON 23RD
SNOW/SLEET
Monthly Total " 0.9 1.0
Greatest 24hr 0.6 ON 24TH 0.8 ON 1ST

BURLINGTON FORECAST AREA ACCUMULATED MONTHLY RAIN GAUGE PRECIPITATION (IN INCHES) FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH.

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BURLINGTON FORECAST AREA ACCUMULATED MONTHLY SNOWFALL (IN INCHES) FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH.

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MONTHLY WEATHER PATTERNS AND GLOBAL CLIMATE DRIVERS...

THE FIRST PART OF MARCH WAS DOMINATED BY A AN ANOMALOUSLY STRONG 500MB RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE THAT SPREAD ACROSS MUCH OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND FAR INTO CANADA. THIS KEPT THE WEATHER QUIESCENT THROUGH THE FIRST 3/4 OF THE MONTH...WITH DRY CONDITIONS AND TEMPERATURES WELL ABOVE NORMAL. HOWEVER...THIS RIDGE BEGAN TO BREAK DOWN AFTER THE 21ST, ALLOWING A 500MB TROUGH TO SAG SOUTH INTO THE EASTERN HALF OF CANADA. ALTHOUGH THIS CHANGE IN WEATHER PATTERNS RESULTED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TWO STRONG STORM SYSTEMS OVER THE CENTRAL UNITED STATES...THE AFOREMETIONED TROUGH KEPT THEM SHUNTED WELL TO OUR SOUTH...FORCING THEM TO TRACK ACROSS THE MID-ATLANTIC AND OFF THE NEW ENGLAND COASTLINE. THE HEAVIEST PRECIPITATION ALSO STAYED WELL TO THE SOUTH ALTHOUGH MUCH OF THE FORECAST AREA SAW AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES FOR EACH EVENT. THE TROUGH ALSO HELPED TO COOL TEMPERATURES A BIT BUT NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP MARCH FROM BEING ONE OF THE WARMEST ON RECORD IN THE NORTH COUNTRY.

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THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER IS FORECASTING TEMPERATURES TO BE ABOVE NORMAL FOR APRIL 2010, AND PRECIPITATION TO BE BELOW NORMAL.

EL NINO IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH SPRING 2010 BEFORE GRADUALLY COMING TO AN END BY SUMMER. SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES ARE MORE THAN 1 DEGREE CELSISUS ABOVE NORMAL, WHICH PLACES EL NINO AT MODERATE STRENGTH. HOWEVER...EL NINO DID WEAKEN A BIT DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH, AND THIS TREND IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH SPRING. SOME MODELS ARE PREDICTING BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES, OR LA NINA, TO DEVELOP DURING THE FALL, BUT THIS IS UNCERTAIN AT BEST. FROM NOW THROUGH JUNE 2010, EL NINO IMPACTS FOR THE CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES INCLUDE WETTER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES, WHILE ABOVE AVERAGE TEMPERATURES ARE LIKELY FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST.

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER APRIL 2010 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK...

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CLIMATE PREDICITION CENTER APRIL 2010 TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

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Figure 1: Burlington Monthly Temperature Trend
Figure 2: Montpelier Monthly Temperature Trend
Figure 3: Massena Monthly Temperature Trend
Figure 4: Saint Johnsbury Temperature Trend
Figure 5: Monthly Precipitation Map
Figure 6: Monthly Snowfall Map
Figure 7: 500MB Geopotential Height Anomalies
Figure 8: Climate Prediction Center Precipitation Outlook
Figure 9: Climate Prediction Center Temperature Outlook