The weather across the United States in the beginning of 2012 has run the gamut from too little rainfall in portions of the southeast to severe thunderstorms which wreaked havoc over the Plains, Ohio Valley and portions of the southeastern US. March was an epic month as far as weather goes in the country as a whole new breed of insanity for the record books was front and center.
First up was the massive tornado outbreak early in the month. Dozens of people lost their lives due to twister touchdowns and already, damages are over the $1 billion mark across the country. The tornado activity was due to warmer than average temperatures which created the perfect conditions for severe weather. There were over two hundred tornadoes reported in March, a month that averages eighty. March was also the warmest March ever recorded in the lower forty-eight states with the average temperatures registering at nearly nine degrees above normal.
The weird March weather was due to a very persistent weather pattern that collided with the jet stream and prevented cool air from reaching the eastern two-thirds of the contiguous United States. Very warm temperatures normally seen in June and July smashed records in many states. For example, in Chicago from the 14th of March through the 22nd, the mercury levels were over 80 degrees. Temperatures that high are extremely unheard of for March in the Windy City which usually experiences temps in the high 30s to 40s.
Hundreds of towns and major metropolitan areas across the country broke their all-time March temperature highs. There were even twenty-one occurrences of night-time temperatures being as warm or warmer than the existing daytime temperatures. But it was not only about temperatures. Rainfall amounts were also breaking records across the country. The northwestern portion of the country and Southern Plains had higher than average rainfall amounts during March. Meanwhile, drier than average conditions dominated portions of the west, the Northeast and the deep south.
Scientists still are in disagreement over what all this means. Some blame global warming and others believe that the turbulent, unpredictable weather the US has been experiencing is due to nothing more than a normal “cycle” the earth goes through. What experts across the board do agree on is that the start of the year in the United States has shown us that 2012 is sure to be a very active weather year across the nation.