A Normal Month?
March 2007 Climate Summary

Dr. David A. Robinson
New Jersey State Climatologist
Center for Environmental Prediction, Cook College/NJAES, Rutgers University
April 2, 2007
Updated: April 27

Monthly climate averages can certainly deceive when it comes to defining what the weather conditions might have been on any given day during a month. Take March 2007 in the Garden State. The statewide mean temperature for March 2007 was 41.4°, which is only 0.4° above average for the month (based on the 1971-2000 interval). Precipitation (rain and melted snow/sleet) was 4.22", just slightly above the average of 4.17". However one might be hard pressed to call many a day this past month "normal". Or perhaps it wasn't all that unusual...

March began with a warm rain storm, with, in some locations, the two inches of rain that fell exceeding the total precipitation for February. Later that first week, one of the most impressive cold waves in recent Marches invaded the area. On the 6th and 7th day time temperatures in the teens and 20s were accompanied by strong winds. Light snow fell on the 7th, with reports of 2-3" not uncommon in the southern half of the state. This set the stage for what in many locations in central and southern NJ (where more snow sat on the ground than in the north) was the coldest morning temperature of the winter. The NJ Mesonet station at Miller Airpark in Berkeley Township, Ocean County dropped to -5°. This was the coldest temperature observed in NJ during the past winter, surpassing the -4° at the High Point Monument NJ SafetyNet station on February 5.

The second week of the month set the calendar ahead a month or more. Temperatures reached their apex on the 14th, when some stations reached 80°, topping out at 82° at the Sicklerville Mesonet station in Camden County. A strong sea breeze that afternoon kept high temperatures in the low 50s at coastal locations. This inland summer excursion rapidly disappeared, and by the late evening of the 15th a cold rain began to fall. This soon turned to sleet across all but southern and coastal reaches. Thus began what was arguably the most disruptive storm of the winter season, surpassing the Valentines Day event in many locations. Some areas experienced 24 consecutive hours of sleet, with remarkable totals of 4 or more inches the result. Northern counties saw snow and sleet, with the two combining for 6-10" totals in many locations, with as much as 13" in the highest elevations. Only the extreme southern counties escaped accumulating snow and ice.

Despite the strength of the mid March sun, it took several days for the "concrete" that enveloped large portions of the state to melt away. With more than a few piles of snow/ice remaining, summer once again returned on the 27th. Temperatures soared to 80° at 15 of the 39 Mesonet and SafetyNet stations across the state. Once again, Sicklerville took top honors at 83°.

Something tells this climatologist that April might hold more of the same wild variations. Spring will eventually win out, but winter seemingly refuses to go away quietly. But isn't that normally the case in March and April?

Past Climate Summaries