March was colder than February with nearly as much snow! What’s next?


After receiving the 2nd warmest February on record (since 1902) and a well above average January, there was a dramatic reversal in March. Temperatures ended up well below normal. In fact, taking all of the daily high and low temperatures for the month of March and averaging them up, it was actually MUCH COLDER in March than it was in February.

Here are some official temperatures for Syracuse from March 2017:
~Average Daily High Temperature: 38.2 degrees (-5.0 degrees below normal).
~Average Daily Low Temperature: 22.1 degrees (-3.0 degrees below normal).
~Mean Monthly Temperature: 30.1 degrees (-4.1 degrees below normal).

With 30.1 degrees as the mean monthly temperature for March, that was a full 3.1 degrees COLDER than February! Then again, February was the 2nd warmest on record and the pattern shifted significantly.

While the average temperature in March was over 4 degrees below normal, it was nowhere near the top 5 coldest months of March.

Coldest Marches since 1902:
1. 24.3 degrees (1960)
2. 24.5degrees (1984)
3. 24.7degrees (1916)
4. 25.5degrees (1940)
5. 26.3degrees (1941)

Breaking down the monthly temperatures from March 2017:
~5 out of 28 days had temperatures of 5 degrees or higher ABOVE normal.
~10 out of 28 days had temperature NEAR normal (between 4 degrees above & below normal).
~16 out of 28 days had temperatures of 5 degrees or lower BELOW normal.
~The warmest temperature was 68 degrees on March 1. This number was good enough to break the previous daily record high which was 63 degrees set back in 1954.
~The coldest temperature was 2 degrees on March 5.

Breaking down the precipitation from March 2017:
~Total monthly snowfall was 31.1”. This was 13.1” above normal for March snowfall of 18.0”.
~The snowiest March ever was 54.4” (1993) when we had the Blizzard of 1993.
~Most of the monthly snow occurred during the snow storm of March 14th and 15th when Syracuse received 18.9” and 5.5” respectively for those 2 days. That produced a total of 24.4” of snow (78% of the total monthly amount).
~Snowfall for the 2016-2017 season as a whole, Syracuse so far to date has had 134.8”. This is about as close as you can be to normal. The normal amount of snow to date of 120.4”.
~Total monthly rainfall (and melted snowfall) was 3.85”. This was above the average of 2.95”.

For a day by day break down of Syracuse temperatures and precipitation, click here.

For the monthly climate summary for Syracuse temperatures and precipitation, click here.

How does April look?
April 1st already had a day which was 5 degrees below normal. April 2nd already had a day near normal (only 3 degrees above normal). My forecast has temperatures above average today, well above average Tuesday, near to slightly above normal Wednesday and Thursday, below normal Friday and Saturday and near normal for Sunday. Precipitation appears to be above average for the next 7 days.

Looking ahead past the 7 day forecast, the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a better than even chance for above normal temperatures with an a better than even chance for above normal precipitation for April 10th through 16th. Their forecast, as a whole for the month, describes a better than even chance for above temperatures and an equal chance for above or below normal precipitation.

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IMPORTANT NOTE about Syracuse records:
--Records between 1950 and now are kept at Syracuse Hancock International Airport (which is technically North Syracuse).
--Records between 1902 and 1949 were kept in downtown Syracuse mostly at firehouses.
--While the distance between the 2 places is less than 10 miles, there is some difference between these 2 locations on average for both temperatures and snowfall.
--Typically, Hancock Airport will receive more snowfall on average than downtown Syracuse. This is due to being closer to stronger Lake Ontario lake effect snow bands before they weaken as they move southward.
--Typically, downtown Syracuse will be milder than North Syracuse due to the "urban heat island" affect from downtown buildings versus an open field of an airport runway.

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