March 2012 Weather Highlights for West-Central Texas

...10th Warmest March on Record for Abilene...

Temperatures averaged well-above normal across west-central Texas in March.

Precipitation for the month varied from well-above to well-below normal.
The lowest monthly amounts, under one half inch, occurred across areas of
Crockett County, parts of the northwestern Concho Valley, and parts of the
western Big Country.  The highest monthly amounts, in the range of 2-4 inches,
occurred across much of the Heartland and Northwest Hill Country, and into
eastern parts of Tom Green, Schleicher, and Sutton Counties.  A few locations
(southeastern Runnels, southern Mcculloch, and southern Mason Counties received  
amounts in excess of 4 inches.

At Abilene Regional Airport, the average temperature for March was 62.2 degrees. 
This was 5.8 degrees above the normal average temperature of 56.4 degrees.  This
marks the 10th warmest March on record for Abilene.  Total precipitation for
Abilene in March was 1.21 inches.  This was 0.53 inches below the normal of 1.74
inches. A trace of snowfall was recorded in Abilene in March.

At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average temperature for March was 62.2 degrees.
This was 4.4 degrees above the normal average temperature of 57.8 degrees.  Total
precipitation for San Angelo was 1.49 inches.  This was 0.01 inches below the
normal of 1.50 inches. 

March 2012 Weather Highlights...

With south to southwest winds, warm daytime temperatures occurred on the 1st.
Afternoon highs on this date were mostly in the 80 to 85 degree range.

Gusty south winds occurred on the 6th and 7th. Peak wind gusts reached 45 mph
at Abilene on the 6th, and 43 mph on the 7th.  At San Angelo, a peak wind gust
of 51 mph was recorded on the 7th.

A wet weather event occurred on the 8th to 10th, with the approach of an upper
level storm system from the southwestern states.  Following a strong cold frontal
passage on the 8th, temperatures dropped through the 40s and into the 30s late
in the day. After the frontal passage, Abilene recorded north wind gust to 44 mph.  

Showers and thunderstorms developed and became widespread across central and
southern sections of west-central Texas during the overnight hours of the 8th and
9th. The showers and storms developed north across the Big Country on the morning
of the 9th.  A number of the storms contained small hail.  One of the storms
deposited enough hail to cover the ground, near Wall in Tom Green County.

A cold rain and scattered thunderstorms continued through the afternoon hours.
The air was cold enough for a few snow flakes to be mixed with the rain in parts
of the Concho Valley and Big Country. Daytime temperatures on the 9th ranged from
the upper 30s to mid 40s.

The upper level storm system stalled over New Mexico on the 10th, before lifting
out to the northeast on the 11th. Light rain and drizzle continued on the 10th,
with a few thunderstorms. The rain ended on the 11th and skies cleared, as the
upper system lifted northeast out of the region. 

The heaviest rainfall for this event, in the range of 2 to 3 inches with a few
higher amounts, occurred from the eastern parts of the Concho Valley and
Northern Edwards Plateau, across areas of the Heartland and Northwest Hill
Country. Total rainfall amounts between one half inch and 2 inches, occurred
across much of the area southeast of a line from Ozona to Abilene to Haskell. 
The lowest rainfall totals varied under one quarter of an inch, across much
of the western Big Country, northwestern Concho Valley, and Crockett County.

A strong warming trend in temperatures followed passage of this system, and
afternoon highs on the 12th reached the lower to mid 80s across most of west-
central Texas.

From the 13th to 17th, a moist flow of air overspread the region from the Gulf
of Mexico, with south to southeast winds.  This pattern resulted in considerable
low cloud cover during the late night through early afternoon hours of each day.
Conditions were more humid than usual for the middle of march.  Daily high
temperatures during this time were mostly in the 75-80 degree range, with
nighttime lows well-above normal and mostly in the 55-60 degree range. A few
record warm low temperatures were tied or broken during this time frame (list
specifics).    

A severe weather event occurred on the 19th.  With the approach of a strong
upper level storm system from the southwestern states, an unstable airmass in
place, and the arrival of a weak cold front, numerous thunderstorms occurred.
Small hail was observed at the Abilene Regional Airport around midday.  The
strongest storms occurred from mid-afternoon to late evening, mostly across
southeastern sections of west-central Texas.  Severe storms produced golfball
size hail 16 miles west of Roosevelt (in Sutton County), 8 miles south of
Streeter and 2 miles southeast of Fredonia (both in Mason County), and 2 miles
north of Pontotoc (San Saba County). 

Locally heavy, but beneficial rainfall occurred with the thunderstorms on the
19th.  The heavy rain caused street flooding in Mason.  Rainfall amounts in the
range of one half to 1.5 inches occurred across parts of the northern Big
Country, eastern Concho Valley, and parts of the Northern Edwards Plateau. 
This range of rainfall amounts also amounts occurred across much of the
Heartland and Northwest Hill Country.  The highest amounts, between 1.5 and 3
inches, occurred across eastern San Saba County, areas of Mason County, and
extreme eastern Kimble County.

A cool and somewhat unsettled pattern followed on the 20th and 21st, as the
upper level storm system moved slowly east across northwestern Texas. High
temperatures were mostly in the 60s on those days.  A few showers also
occurred, mostly across the western Concho Valley and Big Country.   

Once the upper level storm system lifted north and northeast away from the
region, a warming trend in temperatures occurred on the 22nd and 23rd.  Warm
and dry conditions prevailed on the 24th-26th, as an upper level high pressure
system moved slowly east across Texas.  Afternoon highs were in the 80s during
this time.   

A few thunderstorms with gusty winds and small hail occurred across parts of
the southern Concho Valley on the 23rd, with the approach of a dryline from
the west.  At the San Angelo Regional Airport, small hail occurred with a peak
wind gust of 43 mph.

Hot and dry conditions occurred during the afternoon hours of the 30th and
31st, as a dryline advanced farther east across west-central Texas.  Highs
ranged from the upper 80s to mid 90s on the 30th, and were in the 90s on the
31st.  These readings were within a few degrees of the record highs at San
Angelo and Abilene.  Afternoon relative humidity values fell to between 5 and
15 percent at San Angelo, Sweetwater, Ozona, Sonora, and Junction.   

$$

 


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