2nd warmest March on record - Tucson News Now

2nd warmest March on record

Mother Nature did a reversal from the much cooler than normal January and February by producing the 2nd warmest March on record.


The month started off rather cold with a low temperature of 33° on the 1st, which ended being the only day of the month with a low in the 30s. Above normal temperatures would be around through the 7th with daily highs in the 70s to the the lower 80s. Daily lows were in the 40s to mid 50s.


A Pacific weather system moved through the area on the 8th and 9th and brought much cooler temperatures, scattered valley rain showers and mountain snow showers. Highs on the 8th were in the upper 60s to near 70, then only in the lower to mid 50s on the 9th.


Strong high pressure aloft moved over the area during the following week and brought the warmest temperatures of 2013 so far. Highs from the 13th through the 16th were in the upper 80s to middle 90s, with the airport setting record highs on the 13th (89°, old record 88° from 1916 & 1989), on the 14th (92°, old record 87° from 1934 & 2007) and on the 15th (94°, old record 93° from 1910). The 94° on the 15th ranks as the 7th warmest high temperature on record for March, tied with three other dates (March 25, 1986; March 27, 1988 & March 17, 2007). It also ranks as the 3rd earliest occurrence of the 1st 94° on record. The two earlier occurrences were March 5, 1910 (96°) and March 10, 1989 (97°).


The remainder of the month was warm and dry with daily highs in the upper 70s to upper 80s with daily lows mostly in the the mid 40s to mid 50s. The exception was on the 22nd when the low was only 61°. Although this didn't set a record for high minimum temperature for the 22nd (record is 66° from 2004) it does ranks as the 12th warmest daily low temperature on record for March (tied with seven other March dates).


Temperature extremes for the month ranged from a daily record high of 94° on the 15th to a low of 33° on the 1st. The monthly average temperature of 65.7° is 5.6° above normal and ranks as the 2nd warmest March on record. The warmest March on record is 66.7° from 2004. This is the 9th March on record that recorded zero or one day with a daily low in the 30s. The previous occurrences were in 1943 (0), 1953, 1978, 1983, 1992, 1994 (0), 2005 & 2011 (0).

Source: National Weather Service - Tucson

Source: National Weather Service - Tucson

Rainfall amounts across the metro area for the month, using several sources like rainlog.org the Pima County Regional Flood Control District gages and CoCoRaHS, ranged from Trace to 0.50" with isolated spots up to 0.75". The highest totals occurred on the northwest side of the metro area. The International airport, which is the official recording location for Tucson, recorded a hundredth of an inch /0.01"/ which is 0.72" below normal. This ties 1972 as the 9th driest March on record. Five March's recorded no rain (1984, 1956, 1933, 1928 & 1895) while three March's recorded a trace (1999, 1971, 1959).


March 2013 stats




Average high temperature



+ 6.8°

Average low temperature



+ 4.3°

Average temperature



+ 5.6°




- 0.72"


The 2nd warmest March on record almost evened out the much colder January and February (23rd coldest Jan/Feb combined on record). Although the yearly average temperature of 55.6° degrees stands one-half of a degree below normal, it does ranks as the 40th warmest 1st three months of the calendar year on record. The 2013 rainfall totals across the metro area ranged from 1.10" to 3" with locally higher amounts near the mountains. Officially the airport has recorded 1.61" which ranks as the 44th driest (tied with 2003) January thru March period on record.


2013 stats thru March




Average high temperature



+ 0.1°

Average low temperature



- 1.2°

Average temperature



- 0.5°





2012-13 Water Year rainfall (Oct-Mar)



- 2.12"


Looking ahead into April

The Climate Prediction Center forecasts enhanced probabilities for above normal temperatures and equal chances for either below normal, normal or above normal rainfall.


Daily normals | Daily records

Normal monthly high temperature


Normal monthly low temperature


Normal monthly temperature


Record high temperature

104° on April 20 & 21, 1989

Record low temperature

27° on April 4, 1945

Warmest April (avg.)

73.8° in 1989

Coldest April (avg.)

57.8° in 1975

Normal rainfall


Wettest April day

1.17" on April 1, 1999

Wettest April

3.53" in 1905

Driest April

0.00" in 2002 (last of 11 occurrences)

Record April snowfall

2.0" in 1976



The number of daylight hours will increase from 12 hours 32 minutes on the 1st to 13 hours 26 minutes on the 30th, a gain of 54 minutes.



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