The month of March 2002 was cooler and wetter than normal. For most of the month, low pressure was over Central and Eastern North America, with upper air high pressure over Northeastern North America. This permitted a series of Arctic air masses to intrude into the region. The month was 2.7 degrees warmer than last March, and 4.55 inches drier. March 2001 was the wettest March on record. Precipitation during the twelve months ending March 31, 2002 was 99.6 percent of normal. Precipitation through March 31 is 13.80 inches less this year than last. The thirty-day outlook for March 2002 had called for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
The week February 25-March 2 saw temperatures average nine degrees below normal, and precipitation less than five percent of normal. Two major Arctic air outbreaks affected the region during the week. The first arrived on the afternoon of the 25th, and the second on the morning of the 2nd. Strong to high winds followed each outbreak, lowering wind chill equivalent temperatures into the teens on the 26th and 2nd. Light rain with a few snow flakes accompanied the second system. Some light rain fell ahead of it in the warm and moist air mass present before its arrival. Temperatures were warm early in the week, and rose to near normal in the 36 hours ahead of the second front. Record low temperatures were set or tied on the 27th and 28th. Hard freezes occurred overnight on the 25th/26th, overnight the 26th/27th, and again the 27th/28th. Temperatures went below freezing on the morning of the 2nd, and held there into the morning of the 3rd. The week's average temperature was 45.9 deg., which was 9.8 deg. colder than the previous week.
The week March 3-9 saw temperatures seven degrees colder than normal, and rainfall about 15 percent of normal. The week began and ended with Polar Continental air masses. A new record low minimum temperature was established on the 4th. The late-week cold front brought strong to high winds on the 9th. Temperatures warmed to above normal levels during the mid-week period as Tropical Maritime air was over the area from the afternoon of the 6th through the early-morning of the 9th. A line of thunderstorms crossed early on the morning of the 9th, bringing light rainfall to the region. Conditions were windy from mid-day of the 5th through the late-afternoon of the 9th. The week's average temperature was 51.4 deg., which was 5.5 deg. warmer than the previous week.
The week March 10-16 saw temperatures two degrees cooler than normal, and near normal rainfall. Polar air was over the region until the afternoon of the 13th, when Tropical Maritime air began flowing into the region. From the afternoon of the 13th until the afternoon of the 15th, Tropical Maritime air was present. Polar Maritime air built into the region from the afternoon of the 15th. Thunderstorms crossing on the 11th with a Pacific cold front and upper air storm brought the week's rainfall. The week's average temperature was 57.5 deg., which was 6.1 warmer than the previous week.
The week March 17-23 saw temperatures four degrees below normal, and rainfall about 300 percent of normal. Two powerful upper air storms crossed during the week: the first on the 17th and the second on the 20th. Both storms brought heavy rains, and the second brought severe weather on the evening of the 20th. This caused power outages in the Tyler area. A Polar Continental air mass built into the region on the afternoon of the 21st, which lowered temperatures to much below normal levels. Tropical Maritime air was present on the 18th through the evening of the 19th. The week's average temperature was 57.0 deg., which was 0.5 deg. cooler than the previous week.
The week March 24-30, 2002 was about two degrees cooler than normal, and there was no rainfall. An Arctic air mass was present over the area early in the week, with an intrusion of Tropical Maritime air late in the week. On the 30th, severe thunderstorms crossed the area from southwest to northeast late in the afternoon. Several counties were placed under either severe thunderstorm or tornado warning. A flood watch and three tornado watches were issued. The week's average temperature was 60.2 deg., which was 3.2 deg. warmer than the previous week. More severe weather occurred to the south and east of Tyler on the night of the 30th.
Skies cleared on the afternoon of the 31st as the upper air storm moved out of range.
The reporting period for temperatures and phenomenon on each day is for the twenty-four hours ending at midnight hours GMT--6 p.m. CST and 7 p.m. CDT. The reporting period for precipitation is for the twenty-four hours ending at noon GMT--6 a.m. CST and 7 a.m. CDT. All times are given using the twenty-four hour clock, and are expressed in Greenwich Mean Time.
Observations are from NWS Station 41/9207/4 in Tyler, Texas. The term "normal" refers to averages from the standard climatic period 1971-2000.
MX MN OBS PCPN REMARKS
March 2002, RECORDS AND SUMMARY: