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Isn’t March a snowy month?

April 4, 2012

   On average, March is our second-snowiest month in the Twin Cities. Only January, with an average (1971 through 2000) of 13.5 inches, tops the March average of 10.4 inches. Despite that snowy reputation, we’ve seen very little March snow in three of the past four years. Here are recent March snowfall totals at MSP airport:

Year   March snowfall total
2012    1.3”
2011    8.2”
2010    Zero
2009    1.5”

2008   18.0″
2007   11.0”
2006   20.4”
2005     6.6”

   Of course, it’s hard to get dumpings of snow when temperatures are running well above normal, as they did this March and in March of 2010. March 2012 was an incredible 15.5 degrees above normal, and many records were set: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mpx&storyid=80782&source=0. March of 2010 was 8.9 degrees above normal.  If this keeps up, some people might start taking their spring vacations in February!

   Our lack of March snow and persistent mild temperatures led to an early ice-out on area lakes and reports of people mowing their lawns in late March. Yesterday, it looked more like May than early April at Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis:

             (You can left-click on the photo for a detailed view)

   Although our weather has been very mild, it’s still too early to plant. We could still see frost and/or freezing temperatures, even in the Twin Cities. A check of Twin Cities weather records, that go all the way back to 1872, shows that we have never seen our last 32 degree or colder reading earlier than April 6th. Enjoy the weather, but resist the urge to plant.

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