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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Recent History Suggests a Snowy March

Are you a snow-lover? If so, I'm sure you had more than your fill in February. The Nor'easter of February 13 and 14 brought more than a foot of snow to southwestern Connecticut. Nearly three feet (32.1") of snow fell at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford last month, which is more than four times the normal (7.2") for February.

If recent history is any indication, we may not be done with snow just yet. Local climatologist Ralph Fato opened up the weather record book and found that more than three inches of snow fell in March across southwestern Connecticut more than half the time (58%) over the last 65 years.

In fact, we've had more than three inches of snow in March in each of the last odd-numbered years since 1997, with the lone exception being last year (2.54"). The snowiest March during the stretch was in 2005 when more than a foot-and-a-half (18.5") fell. More than nine inches of snow (9.7") blanketed the region in March of 2009.

Take a look at the following graphic Ralph Fato produced which illustrates local March snowfall from 1949 through 2012. Click the image to enlarge.

The normal snowfall for March at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford is 4.3 inches based on more than 40 years of climatology. The month can offer extremes in weather, though, punctuated by a record high temperature of 84 degrees on March 13, 1990, and The Storm of the Century, which delivered nearly a foot of snow three years to the day later.

The snowiest March on record occurred in 1967 when nearly two feet (21.8") fell, while 1956 (19.4") and 2001 (18.6") had more than a foot-and-a-half. More than a foot of snow fell in both 1958 (12.6") and 1993 (13.7"). In case you're wondering, just a trace of snow fell in March of 2012 and 3.2" were recorded in 2011.

We dodged a snowstorm yesterday, and no major storms are in the forecast over the course of the next week. In fact, temperatures will begin to moderate into the lower 30s tomorrow and into the 40s Friday and Saturday. Daylight Saving Time begins this coming Sunday morning, March 9, and the first day of Spring is just over two weeks away. However, recent history teaches us to not put the snow shovels away just yet.