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March was another wet and mild month in Berks

It’s becoming a familiar refrain: A wet and mild month that places highly among the wettest and mildest on record in Berks County, especially the mild part.

Though again no date records were set, similar to the first two months of 2024, a persistently mild regime dominated, with the final average temperature for the month of 46.9 degrees.

That’s eighth warmest in a 127-year temperature database that starts with 1898.

The automated equipment at Reading Regional Airport is the official National Weather Service site in Berks and the latest in a series of such sites over the 127 years.

“The outcome is still rather distant behind the first place 1945 at 52.4 (degrees), which is well ahead of the runner-up, 51 from 2012,” said Berks weather historian and retired meteorologist Jeffrey R. Stoudt.

The first half of March was very warm and seemed in line to challenge the top of the list, but there was a cool change after the 17th that cut the surplus in half and brought the average closer to normal.

But, last month was still the fifth entry since 2010 on a warmest-10 list that takes into account 127 Marches. The final temperature for the month was 5.4 degrees above normal, which is a normal that’s well above the average of the full-term record period.

The weather service counts the current normal as the average of the years 1991 through 2020, with last decade driving up the temperatures, and the normal.

Unlike most of the months of the year, there has been some offsetting cold in the current normal period for March. The Marches in 2014 and 2015 are on the 10-coldest list.

In precipitation last month, the final total at the airport was 5.52 inches, which came very slightly short of the 10th wettest March, 5.56 from 1958, Stoudt said.

“March, on average, brings a few more inches of snow,” Stoudt said. “But this March contained two days, which brought brief flurries or a snow shower, which were sub-accumulating except for a brief coating at a few isolated spots.”

There were 11 days with measurable rainfall at the airport, with two of them accounting for about 3 inches of the monthly total, though soggy grounds dominated the month.

Stoudt had further insight on the temperature in a topsy-turvy month:

“Chill arrived for the vernal equinox, continued for several days thereafter, which was then followed by seasonable or slightly milder days till end of month.

“The chilly period consisted of five consecutive daily freezing lows, included 25 on the 22nd, and was flanked with a low of 33 at both ends. Therefore, five of the six freezing lows (of the month) occurred early in the spring part.

“Only March 1903 with five and 1945 with four had fewer (than six freezing lows). March 1946 had also six.

“The 127-year (March) average is 17 days (of freezing or lower). Further, the coolest daily high was a very modest 44 on the 21st, one of only nine daily highs in the 40s. There was no unusually warm daily low, the mildest 49 on the 6th.

April conditions

April has picked up where March left off on the wet side. By 8 a.m. Wednesday, 2.05 inches of rain had fallen in the first 55 hours of the month. The measurement day begins at 1 a.m. during daylight saving time.

A full April’s normal is 3.35 inches.

A year ago, 3.32 inches of rain on the final three days of April boosted what had been a dry month to an above-normal 4.23 inches.

And, April 2023 was the fifth warmest April on record.

Even with the impressive recent warmth, none of the record holders of spring-early summer has been knocked off: March, 52.4 degrees, 1945; April, 58.4 degrees, 1941; May, 68.4 degrees, 1944; and June, 76.8 degrees, 1943.

In 2024, a weather-service issued flood watch remains in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday, with the potential for a full month’s rainfall by then. Expect to see peeks of sunshine Friday and Saturday, but it’ll likely be until Sunday before a mostly sunny day, according to the forecast.

March weather

• 46.9 degrees: Temperature

• 41.5 degrees: Normal

• 5.52 inches: Precipitation

• 3.53 inches: Normal

• Zero: Snowfall (Season: 17.8 inches)

10 warmest Marches

52.4 degrees: 1945

51: 2012

50.1: 1921

50: 1946

47.8: 1903

47.6:  2016

47.4: 2010

46.9: 2024

46.8: 2020

46.6: 1929

Source: National Weather Service

Berks Area Rainfall Networks March rainfall totals in inches:

Shillington, 6.80 inches; Mohnton, 6.47; Douglassville, 6.42; Cornwall Terrace, 6.34; Wyomissing, 6.33; Reading East, 6.25; Lincoln Park, 6.23; Cumru Township building, 6.16; Birdsboro, 6.12; Cacoosing, 6.12; Henningsville, 6.09; West Reading, 5.97; Knauers, 5.91; Wernersville, 5.90; Boyertown, 5.89; Amityville, 5.84; New Morgan, 5.70; Elverson NE, 5.62; Hopewell, 5.62; Topton, 5.62; Dryville, 5.60; Greenfields, 5.58; Pikeville, 5.56; Oley Furnace, 5.54; Mohrsville SW, 5.47; Hamburg, 5.43; Mohrsville, 5.42; Auburn, 5.40; Lobachsville, 5.27; Pine Grove, 5.27; Shartlesville, 5.26; Plowville, 5.16; Bernville, 5.15; Womelsdorf, 4.86; and Frystown, 4.02.

Source: Berkshire mont

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