February was an incredible month in regards to the weather across the nation. It was a month of extremes.
There was historic cold and snow in New England and the Great Lakes while on the opposite side of the ledger many areas in the western plains to the west coast basked in above normal temperatures and little snow for most of the month.
The amount of ice and snow in the Great Lakes and New England areas may impact temperatures this spring, much like the frozen Great Lakes did in the Spring of 2014. Temperatures were slow to warm in the Spring of 2014 and we may very well experience that again.
However, with the historic February behind us it is now time to look ahead to March.
The graphic below highlights our long range outlook for March in regards to precipitation. There are a couple of important trends we see coming in March that will impact precipitation patterns across the United States. Long range trends for March indicate that there will be an increase in precipitation across drought stricken California and into portions of the central and southern Rockies.
Another area of enhanced precipitation will likely be found in the southeast United States extending northeastward into the Mid Atlantic and into New England.
Pacific water temperatures will remain favorable for a little bit longer to bring enhanced precipitation in March (and hopefully April) into California. How much rain and how much of an impact the rain will have on the drought is something we will be monitoring during the month of March. Odds are high that California and portions of the west and southwest will have more precipitation in March of 2015 as compared to March of last year.
There may be a few dry areas in March, one area of concern will be the Pacific Northwest (Washington & Oregon), some areas of Florida and some areas of the upper plains (Dakotas, Minnesota).
Some of the temperature trends we experienced in February will also be observed in March. Temperatures are likely going to be below normal over most of country from the Rockies and points east. The colder than normal temperatures in March will more widespread and farther to the west than observed in February. Beef producers in the Great Lakes and New England will continue to suffer colder than normal conditions for at least another month.
The warmest temperatures will be in the far west and southwest and in the southeast, however, most of the nation in March will experience colder than normal temperatures.