Outlook: Warmest March in 8 years ahead?

Latest medium-range outlooks favor milder than average temperatures deep into March

Star magnolia in bloom March 2012
Star magnolia in bloom March 2012
Huttner, Paul

“The trend is your friend.”

That wise old saying is heard in weather forecast offices everywhere. Persistence is often a valid concept in weather forecasting. And from the looks of Friday’s latest set of medium-range outlooks from NOAA, March 2020 could go down as very mild — and possibly rainy in Minnesota.

March 2012 was the warmest March on record in Minnesota. The Twin Cities average temperature that month was 48.3 degrees. March 2016 was the fifth warmest. The average temperature that month was 41.3 degrees. If current forecast maps for the next one to three weeks verify, we have a reasonable shot at seeing a top five warmest March on record at many Minnesota locations.

Keep in mind outlooks in the one to three-week range are just that. Changes can happen fast. What looks like a possible rainstorm today on March 11 could easily shift to a snow event on the forecast models in a few days. As the weather warning label says, your results may vary.

Week 1: Mild and dry

The weather pattern across the Upper Midwest favors very mild and dry conditions through next week. Temperatures will likely run 5 to 10 degrees warmer than average over the next week.

NOAA 6 to 10-day temperature and precipitation outlook
NOAA 6 to 10-day temperature and precipitation outlook
NOAA

Week 2: Milder and rainy?

The medium-range models project an even warmer pulse of Pacific air across the Upper Midwest in about seven to 14 days. A possible storm heading this way could be warm enough for mostly rain around March 11.

NOAA 8 to 14-day temperature and precipitation outlook
NOAA 8 to 14-day temperature and precipitation outlook
NOAA

Weeks 3 to 4: More spring than winter?

March is typically more winter than spring at this latitude. This year may be the exception.

The Minnesota weather professional skeptic in me is still leery of a quick snowy pattern change in mid to late March.

Stay tuned.

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