What a month! Record heat, giant hail and tornadoes kept everyone on their toes during March and yet it was a relatively dry month.
In terms of average temperatures, it was the warmest March in 110 years. Our day-night average of temperatures during March was nearly 62 degrees, almost 7 degrees warmer than normal. Our warmest reading was 90 degrees on the first day of spring, March 20th. Our coldest was 29 degrees on March 2nd. Our last freeze of the season was the morning of March 14th when we touched 30 degrees. Rainfall was only 1.37 inches, over 2 inches below normal for March. Our three best rains occurred on the 24th (.17″), 26th, (.66″), and the 29th (.46″). So far this year, Denton Enterprise Airport has recorded 6.05 inches of rain.
Severe weather struck Denton County twice during the month and was costly. Golf ball to softball-sized hail damaged thousands of homes and cars on March 26th, leaving huge dents in the ground where the hail stones melted. Argyle, Bartonville, Lantana, Double Oak, Copper Canyon and Highland Village were particularly hard-hit.
Three days later, at 2:30 in the morning on the 29th, an EF-1 tornado with 90 mph winds touched down in Lewisville, snapping off large trees and power lines and peeling off roofs in its path that was more than a mile long and 130 yards wide.
No injuries were reported in either storm, but preliminary hail and wind damage estimates are soaring into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Looking ahead, a series of storm systems is lined up out in the Pacific, consistent with a developing El Nino. The active weather pattern is likely to spawn several more outbreaks of severe storms across North Texas during April.
Preparation is the key to surviving severe weather. Please be sure you have a readily-available enclosed space away from windows where you can take shelter. And in that space, you should have a basic emergency kit with drinking water, non-perishable snacks, a battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries, basic tools to cut off water and gas service and first-aid supplies. If you’re too busy to do it, just make up the list and tell your school-age kids it’s a scavenger-hunt.
Again this year, WBAP 820 and WFAA-TV will host “WeatherCon” at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field, Saturday, April 22, beginning at 9 a.m. Come and go as you please. Admission to the museum, normally $7-10, is free to everyone during WeatherCon. There will be booths, exhibits, stage presentations, demonstrations and lively question-and-answer sessions with myself, Pete Delkus, other forecasters and storm-chasers. We hope to see you there!
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 The Wolf and Home Field Meteorologist for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. Paul Ruekberg of NewsWatch Dallas contributed to this report.