Assessing the U.S. Climate in March 2017
During March, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 46.2°F, 4.7°F above the 20th century average. Record and near-record warmth spanned the West and Great Plains, with below-average temperatures in the Northeast. The year-to-date contiguous U.S. average temperature was 40.3°F, 5.1°F above average. This was the second warmest January–March on record, behind the record of 41.4°F set in 2012.
The March precipitation total was 2.56 inches, 0.05 inch above the 20th century average, and ranked near the middle of the 123-year period of record. Much-above-average precipitation across the Northwest offset much-below-average precipitation in the Southeast. Warm and windy conditions across the South created ideal wildfire conditions with over 2 million acres burning during March—a new record for the month. The year-to-date contiguous U.S. precipitation total was 8.09 inches, 1.13 inches above average. This ranked as the 10th wettest January–March on record and wettest since 1998.
This monthly summary is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia, and the public to support informed decision-making.