March 2015 North Dakota Summary


Rain and snow were rare commodities in much of North Dakota during the month.  Although light scattered precipitation did fall on several occasions, more widespread moisture only occurred on two days, March 24 and March 29.  Those two days attributed to a high percent of what little total moisture was recorded during the month (Figure 1).  March was the 7th straight month of overall dryness in North Dakota, especially the eastern one-third of the state. The March 31 Drought Monitor now lists 95% of the state in either abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions, with the eastern one-quarter of North Dakota being in that moderate drought category.

March Percent of Normal Precipitation
Figure 1: March Percent of Normal Precipitation


March 2015 had many ups and downs temperature wise.  The first week was quite cold but then the next 10 days turned very warm for so early in the year.  The ten day stretch from March 9-18 recorded temperatures of 15 to 20 degrees above average.  That period was then followed by a week of cooler weather that was replaced by much warmer temperatures once again as the month finished.  The NDAWN (North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network) average temperature for the month was 32.9 degrees which is 5.9 degrees above normal (Figure 2). The warmth of the month was in stark contrast to the past two years with March 2013 finishing 10 degrees below average and March 2014 recording temperatures 5 degrees below normal.


March 2015 Average Temperature Departure from Normal
Figure 2: March 2015 Average Temperature Departure from Normal


Daryl Ritchison