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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 04/ 1/2009

March in Review: Cool and Very Dry

By Jason Samenow

* Some April Showers: Full Forecast | Blossom Bloom Dates & Poems *


March will go down in the record books as the second cool month of 2009 (joining January), finishing just over a degree below average at Reagan National Airport (DCA). But the dry weather was more notable than the coolness, as rainfall was about 1.6" (or 45%) below the long-term average. Certainly the most memorable weather event was the snowstorm to kick off the month, which dropped 5-8" across the metro region.

Keep reading for the rest of the March climate wrap-up...

Here are some additional climate facts from March:

  • Early in the month, temperatures swung from being 20 degrees below average on March 3 (the daily average was 22) to 21 degrees above average on March 8 (the daily average was 65) at DCA. See the earlier posts about this turn of events here and here.
  • The highest temperature of the month occurred this past Sunday, when the mercury reached 76 at DCA. The lowest temperature at DCA was 14 on March 3 (the high that day was only 29).
  • No high or low temperature records were set at either DCA or Dulles airports. However, a record low of 10 degrees was set at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on March 3.
  • After the snowstorm to start the month, we hit a dry spell, with no more than 0.10" in a day between March 3 and March 25 at DCA.
  • The combined February-March precipitation total at DCA is the second lowest on record (hat tip Capital Climate).

While March was by-and-large dry, more than an inch of rain fell in the last week of the month, possibly signaling the start of a wet period. The forecast for the next week presents several opportunities for appreciable rainfall. That's a good thing, as the rainfall deficit since October 1 is about 7.3" (5.0" since January 1), and we're officially in drought, as Dan posted last week.

By Jason Samenow  | April 1, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Local Climate  
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Next: Cherry Blossom Morning


i'm so ready for spring - and hopefully april will be much warmer than march!

Posted by: madisondc | April 1, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Windy rain Friday and Monday could cause problems outdoors--Hey, "March" is supposed to be over!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 1, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

And...can the Post or somebody please fix that problem of "duplicate posting" at the end of the first line. That can be almost as irritating as having a $15.00 umbrella ruined by the wind!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 1, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if these temperature averages are unduly influenced by outliers.

It seems to me that March was really much colder than I what I remember for "typical" March weather.

If the data are sliced differently, say by counting the number of days below the average high temperature for that day, or by some other measure, was this March more unusually cold?

Posted by: MB_202 | April 1, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

MB, Your impressions may be affected by the fact that this was the first below-average March in 4 years.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | April 1, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

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