March 2016 Climate Summary


The average precipitation in North Dakota nearly doubles from February to March from 0.44 to 0.83 inches.  Taking data from both cooperative and CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network) observers, the average precipitation in North Dakota in March 2016 was 0.52 inches which also matched results from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).  Although there were a few exceptions, most of North Dakota recorded below average precipitation during the month (Figure 1).  March continued the trend of the past several months with precipitation amounts being recorded on the low side of normal.  Therefore, it is of no surprise that the Drought Monitor currently has 81% of the state in abnormally dry conditions and another 11% listed in moderate drought.

High Plains Regional Climate Center
Percent of Average Precipitation for March 2016


March 2016 with the 10th consecutive month with above average temperatures in North Dakota.  Several of those months the average temperature was well above average and March can be added to that list with most of the state recording temperatures 8° F to 12° F above normal (Figure 2).  The average temperature for the North Dakota NDAWN (North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network) stations in February was 36.3° which is 9.6° above normal for those locations.  Although temperatures were above average for much of the month, the highest temperature anomalies occurred from March 6-16 when on many days temperatures were 20° to 30° F above average.   The highest temperature recorded during the month occurred on March 12 when the NDAWN station near Beach, ND reached 75.4° F.  The lowest temperature recording in the month was -7.2° F at the Langdon NDAWN station on March 1.

March 2016 Temps
March 2016 Departure from Average Temperature