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Weatherwatch

March 2013

The persistence of a large high-pressure system over the North Atlantic led to a southward displacement of the polar jet stream across the central and eastern United States. That resulted in a steady delivery of cold, Canadian air, leading to below-normal March temperatures in most areas from the Plains to the East Coast. Monthly temperatures averaged more than 10°F below normal in parts of North Dakota and neighboring areas. In contrast, mild weather covered much of the West, leading to some premature melting of high-elevation snow packs.

The North Atlantic blocking high also disrupted the normal progression of storm systems, leading to an active weather pattern in some parts of the country. In particular, widespread precipitation fell across portions of the northern Plains, Midwest, and Ohio Valley. On several occasions, precipitation fell in the form of late-season snow. However, storminess largely bypassed several areas, such as the southern Plains, the Gulf Coast region, and parts of the Northeast. Most of the West also experienced drier-than-normal weather, fueling concerns about spring and summer water supplies from California to the central and southern Rockies.

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