March weather averages, extremes and milestones for the D.C. area

March is only two days away and meteorological winter is almost{ }over, but that doesn't necessarily mean warmer temperatures are on the horizon for the near-future. Taking a look at the climate data for Reagan National (and Washington D.C. for earlier climo data){ }spanning back to 1872, I've highlighted some of the averages and extremes that might interest you.

Heading into March, the average high temperature is already 51 degrees, which is 8 degrees warmer than the lowest average high in January. By the end of the month, the average high is up to 61 degrees. There is typically a wide range of temperatures{ }throughout the month, however, with records ranging from the{ }coldest record low{ }(4 degrees on{ }the 4th in{ }1873) to the warmest record high (93 degrees on the 23rd in 1907). That's an 89 degree spread, which ranks as the 3rd most changeable month behind{ }February (99 degree spread) and January (93 degree spread).

2012 was the warmest March on record

Last year was actually the warmest March on record for many states from the Mid Atlantic through the Midwest. This includes the warmest on record for D.C., with a +10 degree temperature departure for the month. One record high was recorded just last year on the 15th, when the temperature soared to 82 degrees. I wouldn't worry too much about reaching a record low, as the last one was recorded on the 15th in 1993, when the temperature fell to 15 degrees.

Precipitation is usually on the rise for the month of March, with an average of 0.09" on the 1st of the month, but up to 0.12" by the end. The month averages 3.48" on a whole. Snow still isn't out of the question either. In 2009, Reagan recorded 4.5 inches of snow on the 2nd, though that wasn't representative of other areas which had more than 11 inches in Southern Maryland as shown below. In 1999, 8.4 inches fell{ }on the 9th. The big one{ }for D.C.{ }was in 1942 when the{ }region was struck with 11.5 inches. And that happened on the 29th!{ }I guess there is still hope for the snow lovers after all.

March 2, 2009 Snow (Courtesy: NWS Sterling)

Snow isn't the only weather feature through the month, as severe weather is also possible. Just two years ago, two tornadoes struck the region in Bealeton, VA{ }and Chantilly, VA, so the threat for storms is on the rise as well.

Who could forget the Storm of the Century on the 13th and 14th of 1993?

Here's my favorite part of the month. The sun rises at 6:40am and sets at 6:01pm on the 1st of the month. By the end of the month though, the sun rises at 6:54am and sets at 7:31pm. The means we gain 1 hour and 16 minutes of daylight in 31 days. How awesome is that? You might wonder how in the world the sun rise gets later during the month, well that of course would be due to Daylight Saving Time, which begins on Sunday the 10th. Don't forget to Spring Forward and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors! Spring fever is on!