March was unseasonably warm with a chilly finale

Unseasonably warm weather was the month's hallmark, except for the windy, chilly finale.

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WALLA WALLA -- Well, so much for "in like a lion, out like a lamb."

After bowing in with a steady stream of balmy days, March bowed out with rain, wind and a final, freezing night.

And that proved to be only a precursor to the late-season storm that marked the first weekend in April.

But back to March.

Capped by a high of 70 degrees on the 16th, the month as a whole was slightly warmer than normal, according to the National Weather Service. Average highs hovered around 58 degrees while nighttime lows averaged about 37 degrees.

The three coldest nights came March 9, 14 and 31, when the mercury dropped to 31 degrees.

March continued a trend of below-average precipitation with 1.11 inches measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport, a total 1.09 inches below normal. It was the fifth straight month since November with below-average precipitation. Total precipitation for the year is now 3.73 inches, 2.69 inches below normal.

There were nine days with measurable rainfall during March and 22 days of trace or zero precipitation. The heaviest one-day rainfall was March 12 with .35 inches. The next-heaviest rainfall came March 28-30 when a combined total of .38 inches were measured at the airport.

Precipitation for the water year, which started in October and runs through September, is now 9.02 inches, a mark 4.53 inches below normal.

The highest wind gust was 47 mph on March 29, as measured at the airport.

According to the national Climate Predication Center, the outlook for this month calls for below-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation.

Normal highs during April are about 64 degrees and normal lows are about 41 degrees. Normal precipitation, based on a 30-year average, is 1.83 inches.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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