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After mild February, March brought NJ back to winter

Winter Weather Advisory 20170309New Jersey experienced quite a weather change from February to March this winter, with the warmest February on record in the state and a return to winter this month.

Dave Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University, says this March will be recorded right in the middle of the pack of past Marches, temperature-wise.

“It was the excessive warmth of February that permitted March to be cooler. Very interesting and pretty unusual,” he said.

“When we looked at all of the Februarys and Marches, during those 123 years, this will only be the third occasion when March temperatures were cooler, in an absolute sense, than February temperatures.

“The last time was in 1984. And prior to that, it was in 1960. The difference between those periods, particularly in 1960, was that March was near record cold, and there was more like an average February temperature back in 1960.

“This year, we had the record February warm temperatures, and a March which was just 2.1 degrees below average, right basically in the middle of the pack for previous March temperatures.”

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On the snow front, Robinson says, “Central Jersey had 10.4 inches of snow in March, about 5.5 inches above normal. In North Jersey, we averaged about 16.1 inches, which is a full 10 inches above normal.”

South Jersey, however, did not get into the mix. Only the northern portions of south Jersey had measurable snow, with either of the two snow events that came earlier in the month.

“If you put it all together, the state averaged 8 inches of snow in March, which is 3.7 above average. But certainly in the central and the north, March goes down as the snowiest months of the year. You go down to the south and January was the snowiest month.”

Robinson says groundwater levels, while still below average, have improved slightly, but drought concerns persist in central and north Jersey.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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