12 / 2
      6 / -5
      4 / -7

      March 2013: A Winter Month

      Colder than average temperatures for the month cover western Canada and most of the U.S.

      Meteorologists, for book-keeping purposes, divide the seasons into quarters. That means December, January and February constitutes winter; March, April and May are the spring quarter. Of course in Upper Michigan, this division often flies in the face of reality. Winter usually extends into at least the first half of the month. This March has been wintry throughout. The â??Frost Kingâ?? has also been hanging on in a good share of the rest of the U.S. (Image 1 above), as well as in the Old Country. Heavy snow fell in England and the storm extended southeastward into the main continent of Europe with much below average temperatures.

      Back home, the National Weather Service (NWS) site near Negaunee has not reached 40 degrees this month. Ironically, last March had a colder daytime high. It only reached 15 on March 4, 2012 after the big snowstorm at the beginning of the month. The mean temperature that day was only 8 degrees. This month, the coldest high was 19 on the 20th. The lowest mean temperature was 10 degrees on March 3. Obviously, thatâ??s where the comparison of cold ends. Last year it hit 40 on the 6th and then it was off to the races. Twenty one days during the month had highs of 40 or above. Eight of those days reached into the 50s, four days the 60s; four were up into the 70s and the historic high of 81 degrees was achieved on March 21, 2012.

      Through yesterday, the month was running 3.9 degrees below average. If the temperature fails to reach 40 through Sunday, this would be the first time in NWS history (which goes back to 1961) that 40 degrees was not achieved during the third month. It does appear that the mark will be reached sometime between now and the beginning of the weekend. An increase in sunshine will help boost temperatures and a 40 seems likely on Thursday and possibly Friday, too. By Saturday, an approaching cold front will cause an increase in cloudiness, so a 40 seems less likely. By Sunday, it appears that cold arctic air will again be pouring in on strong northwesterly winds.