A Look at March 2023 and Q1/2023 State-by-State Climate Rankings

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Discussion: March 2023 maintained a Q1/2023 temperature signature across the U.S.: Warm East/South; cool West/North-central (Fig. 1). In March, Oregon, California, Nevada, and North Dakota each observed a top-5 coldest month of March in the 129-year climatology. Snow cover and a persistent negative phase Pacific North America (-PNA) pattern were the catalyst enhanced by the cooling sea surface temperature anomalies in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Florida observed a top-10 warmest month. The national temperature ranking was 45th coolest. The precipitation ranking for the U.S. in March was 33rd wettest with California, Nevada, and Utah each observing a top-10 wettest all-time month of March and most of the precipitation in the form of snow (Fig. 2). The Midwest U.S. was also wetter than normal with Indiana observing the 13th wettest March on record. On the dry side, Virginia observed their 8th driest March on record while Maryland and Delaware were both 11th driest. In the core of the Great Plains drought, Kansas received their 14th driest March on record.

The Q1/2023 state-by-state temperature rankings were controlled by the effect on climate by very cool SSTA off the West Coast (causing a chilly West U.S. JAN/FEB/MAR) while warm SSTA of the western North Atlantic Ocean ran parallel to the anomalous warm temperatures across the South and East U.S. (Fig. 3). In fact, the entire Southeast U.S. observed a record warm Q1/2023. The following states recorded their warmest JAN/FEB/MAR on record: Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, plus Virginia. Outside of the states observing record warmth, all states across eastern U.S. including Texas were in the top-10 warmest all-time. In the West, cool climate prevailed including the 11th coolest Q1 on record for California. Nationally, Q1/2023 ranked 20th coolest on record. The precipitation ranking was 23rd wettest and included 3 Western states and 5 Midwest States observing MUCH ABOVE normal amount (Fig. 4).  Conversely, Maryland was 3rd driest and Delaware 5th driest for JAN/FEB/MAR 2023.

Fig: 1: Temperature historical ranks by state for March 2023.

Fig: 2: Precipitation historical ranks by state for March 2023.

Fig: 3: Temperature historical ranks by state for JAN/FEB/MAR 2023.

Fig: 4: Precipitation historical ranks by state for JAN/FEB/MAR 2023.