March proved to be a relatively quiet month across much of the United States, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) latest “State of the Climate” report.
The report showed that while several winter storms across the northern tier of the country brought plenty of frozen precipitation, it was unable to make up for the dry trend that dominated for much of the month.
As a result, March finished as the fifth driest on record for the national and direst since 1966. March precipitation for the country averaged 1.68 inches, 0.72 inch below average.
Minnesota was the only state to report above-normal precipitation for the month. All other states across the continental United States were near- or below-normal. Texas, Louisiana and Wyoming reported significantly below-normal moisture. Click here for a graphic of March 2013 state-wide ranks.
Temperatures were generally cooler across the Lower 48, and NOAA ranked the month as the 43rd coldest over the last 119 years. March’s average was 0.9 degree cooler than the 20th-century average.
The below-normal temperatures dominated many states to the east of the Rockies, especially in the southeast corner of the nation. To the west, however, temperatures soared well above normal. California temperatures ranked in the top 10 warmest Marches recorded in the state. Other western states posted similar rankings, including Nevada and Arizona.
The cool weather also accounted for the fewest March tornadoes since 1978.