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Thornton, Colorado, USA
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March 2016 weather recap: A bit warmer than normal, much wetter and snowier

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 3:41pm MST

The month of March 2016 in Thornton was a bit of a tale of two halves.  The first, mild and dry.  The second, colder and much, much wetter.

We started out with above normal temperature readings dominating the daily temperatures.  In fact 12 of the first 14 days of the month saw high temperatures above average, some well above.  Other than a nice bit of rain on the 7th, those first two weeks were dry as well.  All were courtesy of strong high pressure staying over the region.

Things cooled down briefly for the next few days and we received a nice bit of snow on the 17th and 18th.  However, warm weather returned with back to back 70+ degree days on the 21st and 22nd.

March is however our snowiest month and Mother Nature delivered a walloping reminder of that on the 23rd.  Blizzard conditions arrived early in the morning and persisted through the day.  Schools and businesses shuttered as did the airport and major interstates.

Cool, unsettled weather conditions finished out the month.  Another, light show of snow came on the 26th followed by flurries on the 31st.

Thornton’s overall average temperature for March was 41.4 degrees.  This was very close to Denver’s official measurement of 41.6 degrees as taken out at DIA.  The average monthly temperature for March is 40.4 degrees.

Thornton saw a maximum mercury reading of 72.4 degrees on the 21st and a low of 13.5 degrees on the 24th.  Out at the airport, Denver saw its highest reading of 74 degrees on the 11th and a low of 10 degrees on the 24th.

In terms of precipitation, rain and snow combined to bring Thornton a wet 3.21 inches.  The long term average for Denver in March is 0.92 inches.

Denver’s automated system claims a mere 0.90 inches of liquid precipitation at the airport.  It is clear that they had a very incorrect reading from the blizzard on the 23rd.  Their climate report for the month makes the note, “the precipitation for March 23rd is too low due to undercatch from blizzard. This value is under review. This could change the values below.”

Snowfall was abundant for the month and far exceeded the average of 10.7 inches for Denver.  Here in Thornton we received 30.1 inches – our second highest monthly total in 10 years.  The airport lagged considerably due to their location out in the middle of nowhere with 18.4 inches.

Click here to view Thornton’s March 2016 climate report.

Thornton, Colorado's March 2016 temperature summary. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Thornton, Colorado’s March 2016 temperature summary. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Thornton, Colorado's March 2016 precipitation summary. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Thornton, Colorado’s March 2016 precipitation summary. (ThorntonWeather.com)

From the National Weather Service:

CLIMATE REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER/BOULDER CO
1255 PM MDT FRI APR 1 2016

...................................

...THE DENVER CO CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH 2016...

CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1872 TO 2016

WEATHER         OBSERVED          NORMAL  DEPART  LAST YEAR`S
                 VALUE   DATE(S)  VALUE   FROM    VALUE  DATE(S)
                                          NORMAL
................................................................
TEMPERATURE (F)
RECORD
 HIGH              84   03/26/1971
 LOW              -11   03/28/1886
HIGHEST            74   03/11        73       1       81  03/16
LOWEST             10   03/24        11      -1        2  03/05
AVG. MAXIMUM     54.9              54.4     0.5     58.9
AVG. MINIMUM     28.3              26.4     1.9     31.2
MEAN             41.6              40.4     1.2     45.0
DAYS MAX >= 90      0               0.0     0.0        0
DAYS MAX <= 32      1               1.9    -0.9        2
DAYS MIN <= 32     21              23.6    -2.6       12
DAYS MIN <= 0 0 0.1 -0.1 0 

PRECIPITATION (INCHES) 
RECORD
 MAXIMUM 4.56 1983
 MINIMUM 0.03 2012 

*THE PRECIPITATION FOR MARCH 23RD IS TOO LOW DUE TO UNDERCATCH 
FROM BLIZZARD. THIS VALUE IS UNDER REVIEW. THIS COULD CHANGE 
THE VALUES BELOW. 

TOTALS 0.90* 0.92 -0.02* 0.79 
DAILY AVG. 0.03* 0.03 0.00* 0.03 
DAYS >= .01         9               5.9     3.1        5
DAYS >= .10         2               2.4    -0.4        3
DAYS >= .50         0               0.3    -0.3        0
DAYS >= 1.00        0*              0.1    -0.1*       0
GREATEST
 24 HR. TOTAL    0.49*  03/23 TO 03/23           03/19 TO 03/19

SNOWFALL (INCHES)
RECORDS
 TOTAL           18.4              10.7
RECORD MARCH     35.2                         2003

DEGREE_DAYS
HEATING TOTAL     716               763     -47      611
 SINCE 7/1       4704              5202    -498     4724
COOLING TOTAL       0                 0       0        0
 SINCE 1/1          0                 0       0        0

FREEZE DATES
RECORD
 EARLIEST     09/08/1962
 LATEST       06/08/2007
EARLIEST                        10/07
LATEST                          05/05
..........................................................

WIND (MPH)
AVERAGE WIND SPEED              11.7
RESULTANT WIND SPEED/DIRECTION   3/238
HIGHEST WIND SPEED/DIRECTION    53/340    DATE  03/23
HIGHEST GUST SPEED/DIRECTION    59/340    DATE  03/23

SKY COVER
POSSIBLE SUNSHINE (PERCENT)   MM
AVERAGE SKY COVER           0.60
NUMBER OF DAYS FAIR            3
NUMBER OF DAYS PC             20
NUMBER OF DAYS CLOUDY          8

AVERAGE RH (PERCENT)     48

WEATHER CONDITIONS. NUMBER OF DAYS WITH
THUNDERSTORM              1     MIXED PRECIP               0
HEAVY RAIN                0     RAIN                       0
LIGHT RAIN                4     FREEZING RAIN              0
LT FREEZING RAIN          0     HAIL                       1
HEAVY SNOW                1     SNOW                       4
LIGHT SNOW                8     SLEET                      0
FOG                      11     FOG W/VIS <= 1/4 MILE      2
HAZE                      3

-  INDICATES NEGATIVE NUMBERS.
R  INDICATES RECORD WAS SET OR TIED.
MM INDICATES DATA IS MISSING.
T  INDICATES TRACE AMOUNT.

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