Cold Breaks Long-Standing March Record Lows in East
By By Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist.
March 07, 2014, 2:03:53 AM EST
The same frigid air that helped to push a snowstorm south Sunday to Monday delivered the lowest temperatures on record for March to parts of the Midwest and East Monday to Tuesday.
In the wake of the storm over parts of the Plains and East, temperatures plunged 25 to 50 degrees in a few hours and reached the lowest levels ever recorded in March for some locations.
In Austin, Texas, the temperature on Sunday went from 72 degrees at 8:47 a.m. to 40 degrees at noon Central Time. In Houston, temperatures dropped from a Sunday afternoon high of 77 degrees to 28 degrees Monday morning.
Temperatures at Kansas City, Mo., plummeted to minus 3 F Monday morning, breaking the old all-time record low temperature for March of minus 1 F set in 1962.
After spending much of Sunday with temperatures in the 40s and 50s over the coastal mid-Atlantic, temperatures Monday morning had plummeted to the teens and lower 20s with snow. In 24 hours, Richmond, Va., went from 72 degrees with partial sunshine Sunday, to 22 degrees and windswept snow on Monday. The cold did not stop there.
On Tuesday morning, temperatures rivaled record lows set in the 1800s in parts of the mid-Atlantic.
At Baltimore, a new record low for March was established Tuesday morning with a temperature of 4 degrees breaking the old March record of 5 set in 1873. At Washington Dulles Airport, Va., the temperature plunged to minus 1 F Tuesday morning and tied the monthly record low of minus 1 set on March 15, 1993. This low was originally set in the wake of the Blizzard of '93. Charlottesville, Va., and Dover, Del. also set March record lows Tuesday morning. Atlantic City, N.J., set a March record low late Monday evening.
Many areas along the mid-Atlantic coast were starting the day Tuesday in the single digits and lower teens. Temperatures dipped to near or below zero over parts of the central Appalachians.
A moderating trend is forecast for much of the Central and Eastern states later this week.
According to Northeast Weather Expert Dave Dombek, "Tuesday will likely be the coldest morning from New York City to Washington, D.C., until next winter."
However, it will not mark the end of the colder-than-average weather.
Normal high temperatures for the middle of March are 45 degrees in Chicago, 48 in New York City and 54 in Washington, D.C.
There will be more days with high temperatures in the 40s and 50s compared to what has occurred in recent weeks in the Midwest and Northeast, and that will feel good to millions of people struggling with the cold and high heating bills this winter.
However, as normal temperatures trend upward through March, actual temperatures on a number of days will lag behind the normal trend by 5, 10 or more degrees in some cases. The higher-than-average demand for energy will continue into the spring.
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