From one extreme to the next. That's how March has been like the last few years.
|March 13 south Winnipeg - Source: CBC|
After a frigid start to the month, temperatures skyrocketed by the second week of March. Record breaking warmth arrived March 14 and 15 with highs in the mid teens, about 15°C above normal. Winnipeg reached 13.2°C on March 14, breaking the old record of 11.4°C in 1981. A high of 14.3°C was achieved the following day, just shy of the old record of 14.4°C in 2012. We could have broken that record if it wasn't for the early day cloud cover. The morning low of 6.7°C that day was the warmest morning low on record for so early in the year since 1953. Previously, the earliest we had a morning low as warm or warmer than that was on March 19, 2012 with a morning low of 16.0°C. A record high minimum for the day was not broken thanks to plummeting temperatures in the evening.
The warmest temperatures during the warm spell were near the US border in general. Morden reached 18.3°C and 17.6°C on March 14 and 15 respectively. These not only obliterated the old daily records but were also the earliest occurrences of temperature over 16°C on record since 1904. Amazingly, the high of 18.3°C on March 14 broke the old 2012 record by 7.1°C!
Seasonal to above seasonal conditions continued for the remainder of March with highs mostly above zero. Three days in the low teens occurred at the end of the month, a fitting end to the 20th warmest March on record since 1872. In the end, 5 days exceeded 10°C in Winnipeg in March, slightly above the normal of 2 days.
The year's first thunderstorms also occurred this March. Isolated thunderstorms developed north and south of Winnipeg with lightning and pea-sized hail on March 30. Thunderstorms are certainly not unheard of in March. In fact, back in March 2012, 6 days reported lightning strikes somewhere in southern Manitoba. Pea-sized hail also fell in Winnipeg on March 27, 2012. Nonetheless, they are unusual. For instance, in Winnipeg specifically, a thunderstorm in March is statistically about a one in eight year event (only 4 thunderstorm days recorded at the airport in March in the last 30 years). No lightning occurred in the city yesterday though, but hail did fall in the south end.
|The very first lightning strikes of 2015 in southern Manitoba on March 30|