March 1998 Saint Cloud Weather Summary

This Month's Daily Statistics

SUBJECT: From tornadoes to snow(splat) storms, a mild and wet March
March 1998 St. Cloud weather summary

While March 1998 had some wild days, the overall statistics were
not quite as extreme as the previous month. March continued the mild
cold season trend, finishing more than 2.5 degrees above normal, but not
nearly as extreme as the nearly 15 degrees above normal seen in February.
Most of the warmth was concentrated in the low temperatures which were almost
five degrees above normal.

A major change from the pattern in February was the amount of
precipitation. 2.78 inches of melted precipitation fell in St. Cloud,
almost double the normal the amount. This ranked as the 9th wettest
March in Saint Cloud history. While not all of the precipitation fell
as snow, 10.7 inches of snow did fall, including a total of 5.5 inches
on March 31 and April 1, the second largest snowfall of this cold season.
The heavy precipitation also included the first three thunderstorm days of
the season (on the 26th, 29th, and 31st) and the first reported hail in
St. Cloud (on the 29th), although not at the airport.

The radical change from very little precipitation in February to
double the normal in March continued the alternating pattern seen in
snowfall during the 1997-98 season. November, January, and March were
heavy snowfall months, while December and February had little (see chart
below). The net result is a total snowfall through April 1 of 44.2 inches,
within an inch of the annual normal snowfall of 45.5 inches.

The wetter March was a result of the frequent merging of the
two characteristic jet streams covering the US during an El Nino cold
season. For most of the cold season into February, the northern polar
jet stream and the southern subtropical jet stream stayed separate.
Since the subtropical jet stream is closer to the Gulf of Mexico (the
source of moisture for the US east of the Rockies), most of the moisture
stayed remained in the southern storm track and well south of Minnesota.
However, from late February on, especially strong storms have developed
which have merged the two jet streams together. This has resulted in
storms tracking northward from Texas through the Central US and storms
hitting Minnesota having access to Gulf of Mexico moisture. This
combination, typical of strong spring storms, helped to produce the
heavy precipitaion and the access to warm air resulted in the devastating
tornado outbreak in southern Minnesota on Sunday as well as playing a
role in the thunderstorms, hail, and wet snow in St. Cloud of the past week.

Two more days of below zero weather were recorded early in March.
However, that leaves the cold season of 1997-1998 with 16 days of below
zero lows. If this holds up, it will set the all-time record of fewest
days with below zero lows.

MARCH 1998 STATISTICS           MAR 1998        NORMAL
Average High                     37.7           37.6
Average Low                      22.5           17.6
Average Temp                     30.2           27.6
Warmest high temperature          67 on the 26th
Coldest high temperature          16 on the 10th
Mildest low temperature           45 on the 26th
Coldest low temperature           -2 on the 11th
Daily record temperatures:
   Record Warm Highs:            67 on the 26th (tied record set in 1905,
   Record Warm Lows:             45 on the 26th (tied record set in 1945)

MELTED PRECIP (in)               2.78            1.41
Most in 24 hours                 1.03 on the 31st

SNOWFALL (in)                   10.7             9.8
Most in 24 hours                 4.6 on the 31st
Seasonal Snowfall (Oct-Mar)     43.4            43.1
     ST. CLOUD PRECIP--MARCH     (108 YEARS; AVG =  1.31 IN; SDEV =  0.86 IN)

	      WETTEST                           DRIEST

      4.53 IN  1897                      0.01 IN  1989
      3.43 IN  1965                      0.10 IN  1959
      3.14 IN  1920                      0.14 IN  1887
      3.09 IN  1990                      0.14 IN  1909
      3.05 IN  1896                      0.18 IN  1910
      3.03 IN  1977                      0.20 IN  1923
      3.02 IN  1979                      0.24 IN  1895
      2.98 IN  1917                      0.27 IN  1939
      2.78 IN  1998 <--9TH WETTEST       0.28 IN  1912
      2.75 IN  1903                      0.31 IN  1971

1997-1998    0.3 11.0  4.0 16.8  0.6 10.7             43.4
NORMAL       0.5  6.8  8.9 10.1  7.0  9.8  2.3  0.1   45.5


	      16  1997-1998 <--- FEWEST EVER
	      17  1986-1987     
	      22  1918-1919
	      22  1941-1942
	      29  1908-1909
	      29  1990-1991
	      30  1931-1932
	      30  1982-1983
	      31  1937-1938
	      31  1943-1944
	      31  1957-1958

Historic temperature data provided courtesy of the Saint Cloud National Weather Service Office, and NOAA/NWS
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