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March outlook calls for near normal rainfall

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February in North Texas can be ugly, but this past month was pretty close to what we expect this time of year.  Our average high was 60.4, compared to our historic average high of 61.1.  The average low was 37.4, a full two degrees cooler than our historic average low of 39.4.  Denton recorded at least five overnight lows in the 20’s this past month.  Our warmest day was February 7th when we reached 77 degrees. 

Rainfall recorded at Denton Municipal Airport was a little less than normal, but well-timed during the month.  1.17” fell on the 10th; .25” on the 12th; .56” fell on the 20th and 21st; .04” fell on the 25th.  We also had trace amounts of rain on the 4th, 9th, 11th, 15th and February 19th.  Total for the month was 2.02 inches, which was over half an inch below our normal February rainfall quota of 2.63 inches.  DFW Airport received only 1.68” in February. 

Our closest brush with severe winter weather was on February 25th, when a powerful winter storm blasted through the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and the Great Plains with blizzard conditions and nearly two feet of snow in some places.  Denton reported some sleet pellets and snow flurries, but nothing worse than chilly, windy weather. 

March gives us our least predicable weather of the year.  North Texas has seen temperatures as cold as 25 and as hot as 100 in the same month; March 1916.  March can be rather wet with an average rainfall of 3.5 inches.  As things stand now, a slight drop in sea-surface temperatures in the Central Pacific indicates we may get more rainfall than we had in February, but slightly less than our normal March quota.  The drought in West Texas is expected to worsen.  While there is little forecast-agreement on rainfall-anomalies this coming March, temperature-trends are definitely indicating warmer than normal. 

March is also the official start of the North Texas Spring Severe Weather Season. 

As the Polar jet stream begins tracking north and the Sub-tropical jet stream of warm, humid air begins to move up from the south, we can experience the full range of severe weather threats in North Texas.  Now is an excellent time to brush up on severe weather possibilities and preparedness.  A new resource just coming on line this month is the Cumulus North Texas Severe Weather Guide.  It covers tornadoes, severe storms, flooding and excessive heat and dozens of links to additional information including extreme weather videos and educational materials.  It can be accessed through WBAP.com or any other Cumulus radio station website in North Texas.  It’s all free.      

Two other notable events occur in March:  Our last average killing freeze around the middle of the month and the return of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 10. 

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP, KLIF and KPLX, “The Wolf” and founder of WeatherInTouch.net.

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About The Author

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 "The Wolf." Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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