March 2012 - Warmest on Record

March 2012 - Warmest on Record

March 2012 will go down as the warmest March on record at the southeast Georgia climate sites of St Simons Island and Alma, while it was one of the Top 10 warmest March's on record at the northeast Florida climate sites of Jacksonville and Gainesville. A summer-like Bermuda high pressure ridge extended across the forecast area for most of the month and a general southeast flow across the region kept temperatures well above normal with highs into the 80s for most of the month. Much of the month was relatively dry except for two widespread heavy rainfall events. One occurred at the beginning of the month on the 3rd and 4th when a cold front brought widespread 3 to 5 inch rainfall totals across southeast Georgia and lesser amounts across northeast Florida, and another occurred on the 31st when widespread 1 to 3 inch amounts occurred across northeast Florida with lesser amounts across southeast Georgia. Rainfall totals ended up near normal across southeast Georgia and slightly below normal across northeast Florida. No freeze events were experienced across the region. The March 2012 climate summary table is listed below.

 

Climate Station Average Temp Departure Warmest Rank Monthly High Monthly Low Precipitation Departure Wettest Day
Jacksonville, FL 67.8 F + 6.1 F 9th Warmest 88 on 3rd 37 on 5th 2.17 inches - 1.78 inches 0.73" on 31st
Gainesville, FL 69.0 F + 6.7 F 7th Warmest 88 on 23rd 35 on 5th 3.36 inches - 0.97 inches 1.97" on 31st
Alma, GA 67.9 F + 7.7 F Warmest All-time 87 on 18/19th 39 on 4th/5th 5.22 inches + 0.47 inches 4.28" on 3rd/4th
St Simons Island, GA 68.2 F + 7.9 F Warmest All-time 85 on 29th 46 on 5th 4.01 inches + 0.13 inches 2.92" on 3rd/4th


March 2012 climate details across northeast Florida:

At Jacksonville, March 2012 was the warmest March since 1961, and a daily record high temperature of 88 degrees was set on March 3rd. A total of 10 freeze events (days with minimum temperature less than or equal to 32 degrees) were recorded during the winter of 2011-12, this is below the average number of 17 freeze events for the winter season.  This is the fewest amount since the winter of 2005-06.

At Gainesville, March 2012 was the warmest March since 1945, and a daily record high minimum temperature of 68 degrees was set on March 3rd.   A total of 10 freeze events (days with minimum temperature less than or equal to 32 degrees) were recorded during the winter of 2011-12, this is below the average number of 16 freeze events for the winter season.  This is the fewest amount since the winter of 1997-98.

March 2012 climate details across southeast Georgia:

At St Simons Island, the warmest ever March was helped in part to the extended period of onshore flow and the warmer than normal Atlantic ocean water temperatures. In fact the minimum temperature for the month was only 46 degrees,  which was also an all-time record. A daily record high of 85 degrees was set on March 29th, and a total of six daily record high minimum temperature records were broken as several nights only fell into the mid to upper 60s. A total of only 4 freeze events (days with minimum temperature less than or equal to 32 degrees) were recorded during the winter of 2011-12, this is below the average number of 11 freeze events for the winter season. This is the fewest amount since the winter of 1997-98.

At Alma, the high pressure ridge in place prevented any cold air masses from reaching the region and the minimum temperature for the month was only 39 degrees, which was an all-time record. A total of four daily record high temperatures were broken, as well as four daily high minimum temperature records with lows as warm as the mid to upper 60s some mornings. A total of 18 freeze events (days with minimum temperature less than or equal to 32 degrees) were recorded during the winter of 2011-12, this is below the average number of 24 freeze events for the winter season.  This is the fewest amount since the winter of 2004-05.

The Climate Prediction Center is predicting greater chances for above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for the month of April 2012. This forecast can be seen at this link.

Jason Hess - Climate Focal Point

Any questions/comments about this article or climate for NE Florida and SE Georgia can be directed to me by e-mail at jason.hess@noaa.gov

 



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