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March 2024

  • Monthly Summary


The average March temperature for the Midwest was 41.5°F, which was 4.6°F above the 1991-2020 normal. Anomalous warmth was present across the entire region, with temperatures 1-3°F above normal in the northwest to more than 6°F above normal in the central and eastern portions of the region (Figure 1). Statewide average temperatures ranged from 2.9°F above normal in Minnesota to 5.6°F above normal in Illinois. The first two weeks of the month had widespread warmth. Kansas City, Missouri, had its 5th earliest 80°F day on March 3. Near-normal and slightly below-normal temperatures returned to the region for the last two weeks of the month. Many long-running stations across the area, particularly in the central Midwest, had a top ten warmest March (Figure 2).


March precipitation totaled 2.44 inches for the Midwest, which was 0.13 inches below normal, or 95 percent of normal. Precipitation was up to 5 inches above normal across the Great Lakes and down to 3 inches below normal along the Ohio River (Figure 3). Statewide precipitation totals ranged from 1.81 inches below normal in Kentucky to 0.68 inches above normal in Michigan. Precipitation rankings across most Midwestern cities were unremarkable, except in Milwaukee, which had its third wettest March in 151 years.


March snowfall was confined to the upper Midwest, where totals ranged from 2-25 inches (Figure 4). Snowfall was within 5 inches above or below normal throughout most of Iowa and Michigan (Figure 5). Conversely, Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin had 5-15 inches of above-normal snowfall for March. Minneapolis measured 15.2 inches of snow for the month, which was more snow than they received from Oct 2023 – Feb 2024.


The Midwest had some drought improvement throughout March. About 38 percent of the region started the month affected by drought (Figure 6). Drought coverage was reduced to about 27 percent by month’s end (Figure 7). The epicenter of drought remained locked across eastern Iowa, with a large area affected by extreme (D3) drought, while the western half of the state had one category improvement on the US Drought Monitor map (Figure 8). Drought improvements were noted across Missouri, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, although dryness and drought remained. Areas around the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers trended drier in March, and drought development was an increasing concern.

Severe Weather on March 13-14

Hundreds of hail, tornado, and severe wind reports were noted across the Midwest on March 13-14 (Figure 9) along an axis from southern Missouri to central Ohio. Large hail measuring 3-4 inches was reported in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. There were three fatalities and 27 injuries when an EF-3 tornado traversed Ohio’s Auglaize and Logan counties. Two people were injured when an EF-2 tornado touched down in Jefferson County, Indiana. Another 38 injuries were reported associated with an EF-3 tornado west of Selma, Indiana. At least 17 tornadoes were confirmed in the Midwest during this outbreak.

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