Posted at 4:41 PM on March 21, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Spring 2012
On track for the warmest March on record
+15.5 degrees average temps at MSP Airport so far this month
45% savings on your heating bill compared to last March
21% savings this winter overall compared to last winter
80 degrees the Twin Cities hit 80 before Vegas this year (1st time on record)
+.67 degrees February global temps vs. 20th century average
27 years ago - last month cooler than the 20th century average globally
Showers return Thursday!
70 degrees returns as soon as Friday PM & this weekend?
Sunnier drier & milder weekend ahead
On pace for the warmest March on record:
I have to pinch myself looking at the "climate data" from MSP Airport and other Minnesota locations this month.
The Twin Cities is running a full 15.5 degrees vs. average so far this March. With the average monthly temp so far at 45.8 degrees, that puts us in pace for the warmest March on record.
Source: MN Climate Working Group
It's the same story in Duluth, International Falls and all over Minnesota this month.
Here are some (incredible) temps vs. average so far in March:
Duluth +13.8 degrees
International Falls +15.6 degrees
Fargo +13.0 degrees
St. Cloud +13.6 degrees
Sioux Falls +16.2 degrees
Rochester +16.7 degrees
Temperature levels this month are average for mid April. It's like we literally skipped a month...or two this March. Unreal.
Free Heat: Why we're saving big bucks in March
When I was a young buck cutting my teeth in operational forecast at Chicago's "Weather Command" we used to issue daily load forecasts for natural gas companies based on something called "Heating Degree Days." (HDD)
HDD are calculated based on the average daily temp subtracted from 65 degrees.
(65 degrees is about the average heat setting for most homes)
If you look at HDD for March, the Twin Cities has logged 393 HDD this month. Last March, we logged 714 by this point in March.
So you're saving about 45% on your home heating bill this March compared to last March!
For the winter overall we're saving about 21% vs. last year!
Since the average home costs about $200 or more per month to heat, we can be thankful for a few hundred extra bucks in our pockets this winter!
Weird and weirder: MSP hits 80 before Vegas this year for the 1st time
This one is really weird, and unprecedented.
This Twin Cities hit 80 degrees this year on May 17th. That's the first time on record we've seen 80 before Vegas. Chicago hit 80 before Vegas this year too!
Check out the post from the Las Vegas NWS.
Warm February globally:
NOAA says February was another warm month globally. The last colder than average month was 27 years ago...February 1985!
A stubborn "cut-off" low has been spinning over Oklahoma this week.
Source: Norman, OK NWS
It's also responsible for our bouts of showers in Minnesota, and it looks like one more wave of showers Thursday before the system begins to pull out Friday.
This system has been a godsend for drought plagued Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. 3 to 7 inches of rain have soaked the southern plains this week. That's great news, especially for Texas after the worst drought in state history last year!
Back to the 70s: Warmth returns
As the low pulls east on Friday, Minnesota will see a gradual clearing and warming trend.
Look for increasingly sunnier days Friday through Sunday. Temps should recover and push back into the 70s again this weekend!
Can you say daffodils?