Cold snaps, snow events highlight March 2013 - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Cold snaps, snow events highlight March 2013

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Southeastern U.S. is off to a mild start for April, after a March where average temperatures in many cities were below those in January.

NOAA's State of the Climate Report, released this week, shows a prolonged cold snap across the Southeast where nearly 100 stations recorded one of their top 3 coldest Marches on record, including Jacksonville and Gainesville in Florida. Mount Mitchell recorded its coldest March since 1980. Across the Carolinas, monthly temperatures were 6 to 7 degrees below normal.

Nationally, the average March temperature was only 40.8°F, 0.9° below the 20th century average. Only a year ago, 2012 broke a record for the warmest March on record. 2013 was the coolest March since 2002.

In over 20 locations in the Southeast, the average temperature in March was lower than the mean winter temperatures (taken in December, January and February). Over 750 records were tied or broken as daytime highs struggled to get out of the 20s and 30s and overnight lows plunged.

For many, the cold weather was also coupled with heavy snow events in the eastern half of the country. 1-3 inches of snow was reported across portions of the Carolinas, with over 7 inches in parts of the North Carolina mountains. A snowstorm occurring from the 4th to 9th of the month dumped as much as 20 inches of snow in parts of the Northeast, and brought heavy snowfall to the Carolinas, leading to the 10th largest monthly snow cover extent for the contiguous United States.

With cold, arctic air gripping much of the nation, the threat of severe weather was significantly lessened. Fewer than 20 tornadoes were reported- the fewest March tornadoes since 1978.

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