Historic St. Patrick's Day Weekend for the U.S.

March 21, 2012; 4:38 AM ET
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Photo by Photos.com.

Historic is the best way to describe the weather across the United States this past St. Patrick's Day weekend.

A plethora of records were set dealing with not only the unusual warmth across the eastern two-thirds of the nation, but also the excessive snow, soaking rain and chilly temperatures that invaded the West.

Unprecedented Warmth

The unusual warmth that spanned the eastern two-thirds of the nation is not only historic based on the number of daily records broken. The warmth's persistence and magnitude is what makes it unprecedented.

International Falls, Minn., nicknamed the "Icebox of the Nation," set an all-time March record high on Saturday, only to have that record broken on Sunday when temperatures soared to 79 degrees.

Highs in the upper 70s in International Falls are more common in mid-summer. This time of year, temperatures only climb into the mid-30s.

Pierre and Huron, S.D., both set all-time March record highs on Sunday after temperatures reached 88 degrees.

Chicago, Ill., broke daily record highs each day of the weekend and Sunday marked the fifth consecutive day of 80-degree warmth in the city.

Never before has Chicago experienced so many 80-degree March days. In fact, the previous earliest stretch of five 80-degree days in Chicago was April 23-27, 1915.

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The nights of the weekend were just as unusually warm as the daylight hours.

Aberdeen and Watertown, S.D., shattered previous records for the all-time warmest low temperature in March when temperatures failed to drop below 58 degrees on Sunday.

Excessive Snow

Feet of snow piled up in the mountains from California to the Rockies this weekend with as much as 53 inches measured at Arizona Snowbowl.

The airport at nearby Flagstaff, Ariz., received 25.9 inches as of 2 p.m. EDT this afternoon. The 19.5 inches the airport picked up alone on Sunday made March 18 Flagstaff's second snowiest March day since record-keeping began in 1898.

Sunday's snow also shattered the day's record snowfall of 8.7 inches from 1982. Flagstaff averages 21.9 inches of snow each March.

Soaking Rain and Chilly Temperatures

The storm that barreled from California into the Rockies not only unleashed excessive snow, but also soaking rain as chilly temperatures invaded the entire West.

While not record-breaking, Phoenix, Ariz., received its first measurable rainfall (0.25 of an inch) since December 18 on Sunday.

A gloomy sky covered San Diego, Calif., on Saturday. Photo by AccuWeather.com Facebook fan Kimberly H.

Saturday was the wettest St. Patrick's Day on record in Las Vegas, Nev., when 0.18 of an inch fell. Temperatures the following day were held to 54 degrees, setting the record for the coolest high temperature ever on March 18.

Similar records were set in central and Southern California.

A total of 1.08 inches of rain soaked Fresno on Saturday, breaking the day's rainfall record of 0.96 of an inch from 1991.

Temperatures in San Gabriel were held to 55 degrees, the city's chilliest high temperature ever recorded on St. Patrick's Day.

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