Abnormally Cold March

The final numbers are in and the average temperature for March in the Atlanta area was 49.1ºF, which tied the 17th coldest on record. This falls more than 5 degrees below the normal of 54.3ºF. Perhaps even more impressive is how March compared to some of the winter months – it proved to be colder than both December (51.1ºF) and January (49.9ºF)! February was a bit cooler at 46.6ºF. March was also cooler than the overall winter (Dec-Feb) average of 49.3ºF. 

 

 

Based on the rankings below, you can see that this past March was the coldest since 1971:
Rank Value  Month/Year
 1      41.8   3/1960
 2      43.6   3/1915
 3      45.5   3/1926
 4      46.5   3/1941
 5      46.7   3/1931
 6      46.9   3/1969
 7      47.0   3/1891
 8      47.2   3/1885
 9      47.4   3/1906
 10    47.5   3/1971
 11    47.8   3/1962
 12    48.0   3/1892
 13    48.7   3/1914
 14    48.8   3/1965, 3/1932
 16    48.9   3/1924
 17    49.1   3/1881, 3/2013

How did the other sites across North and Central Georgia rank? Pretty cold as well! Athens tied for the 11th coldest at 48.9ºF, Columbus was the 10th coldest at 53.7ºF, and Macon was the 7th coldest at 50.7ºF.  Such climate variability with having abnormally low temperatures can be attributed to a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation. Changes in atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes with this pattern typically allows for colder air to make surges farther southward. With the spring forecast to have a greater chance for above normal temperatures, another big swing in temperatures might just be on its way!

 


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