The month of March can be unpredictable in terms of temperature and precipitation.

This week is a prime example of how March can be unpredictable. On Tuesday, most of New Jersey was sunny and some parts reached 50 degrees. The total opposite will occur in the next couple days, as we are expected to receive some snow.

Unpredictability in Snowfall

According to New Jersey’s state climatologist Dr. Dave Robinson:

“March can be winter like at times and like late spring on other occasions. Last March was remarkably mild, yet in the distant past there was the Blizzard of 1888 that paralyzed the region. Actually, you only have to go back to March 1993 to find a blizzard. Then there was the "Ash Wednesday" Nor'easter of March 1962 that wasn't surpassed along the coast until Sandy.”

The Blizzard of 1888 gave New Jersey 10 to 30 inches of snow.

The blizzard in March of 1993 gave New Jersey about 15 inches of snow.

The “Ash Wednesday” Nor'easter of March 1962 dumped 42 inches in Virginia, and caused major coastal damage in New Jersey.

If we go back to March of 2001, the following are the snowfall totals of March of each year:

  • 2001... 3.3 inches
  • 2002…1.5 inches
  • 2003…6.1 inches
  • 2004…6.6 inches
  • 2005…0.4 inches
  • 2006…4.6 inches
  • 2007…0.6 inches
  • 2008…7.1 inches
  • 2009…0.1 inches
  • 2010…1.7 inches
  • 2011…0.1 inches
  • 2012…0.4inches

The last 4 years, New Jersey has not seen much snow in March. But looking at it as a whole, snowfall totals have been sporadic.


Unpredictability in Temperature

Last year in March, Trenton had an average temperature of 52.5 degrees. That was the warmest average temperature dating back to the year 1913. If you go back one more year, the average temperature of March in 2011 was 42.9 degrees. And in 2010, the average temperature in March was 48.1 degrees. This was the fourth warmest average temperature dating back to 1913.

Temperature departure is equal to the average temperature of a day (maximum temperature plus minimum temperature, divided by two) subtracted by the “normal” temperature of that day.

In 2012 New Brunswick had a cumulative temperature departure of 276 degrees. There were only 5 days that were below their respected “normal” temperature.

In 2011 New Brunswick had a cumulative temperature departure of 39 degrees. The last 10 days were fairly cold. On March 21, the cumulative temperature departure was 100 degrees. In 10 days, the cumulative temperature departure dropped 61 degrees.

This goes to show that in terms of temperature, March can be very unpredictable.