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March is anything but predictable

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brad_bartonDenton County’s weather was cold and wet during February, although we had over a week of warm, dry weather.  With few exceptions, high temperatures reached the 60’s and 70’s from February 7th through the 15th.  While we were actually enjoying February weather, much of the rest of the nation was dealing with either flooding, record snowfall or record cold.

Our luck ran out the last week of the month.  We started off the week on Feb. 23 with a crippling sleet storm and ended the week with 2+ inches of snow, topped by several hours of freezing drizzle the morning of Feb. 28.

For all of February, our average high was 55.6 degrees.  Average low was 32.3, leaving us with a monthly day/night average temperature of 44 degrees, a full 3 degrees colder than normal.  Rainfall was not enough, but not bad.  Through the 27th, Denton Enterprise Airport recorded 2.15″ of rainfall, which was roughly half an inch below normal.  The last day of the month added only a trace amount from snow and freezing drizzle, but it was more than enough to gridlock the freeways.

Here’s some quick, free, unsolicited advice from a guy who learned to drive on snow and ice in Kansas and Iowa.  Avoid “flyovers” (an ascending freeway ramp that makes a 90-degree turn onto another freeway) at all costs when the weather is icy.  Flyovers are just a bad bet.  Even if your car and driving skills can make it up the ramp, someone else may have already blocked it, and now, everyone’s trying to back down onto the freeway.  What a nightmare!  Instead, bypass the flyover.  Exit before or after the flyover, take surface streets to reach your next freeway and be on your way in a fraction of the time.

We had .12″ on the 15th, another .10″ on the 16th and .03″ on the 17th, followed by our best one-day rain of 1.12″ on the 2nd, .23″ on the 23rd and .44″ on the 25th. During the snow event of February 27th, Denton Enterprise reported only .04″ of measured rainfall, but for many, that amounted to in excess of 2 inches in snow.  Meanwhile, DFW Airport reported an average monthly temperature of 46 degrees, with 2.76″ of rainfall.

The latest monthly forecast from the Climate Prediction Center indicates “equal chances” of near normal temperatures and precipitation.  Considering they are talking about March in North Texas, there’s very little normal about March.  We’ve seen lows of 25 degrees and highs of 100 during March, along with absolute drought and relentless rains.  The point is, don’t expect anything from March, just be ready for anything, including severe weather.  Texas, on average, records 13 tornadoes during March.  We should see our last killing freeze about St. Patrick’s Day, the 17th, but statistically, a freeze is still possible almost to the end of March.

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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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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