The month of March 1998 saw near normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. It was a month of extremes, with much below normal temperatures at mid-month, and much above normal temperatures at late-month. The last few days of the month were characterized by gusty southerly winds. March 1998 was 4.1 degrees cooler than March 1997, and 0.76 inch wetter.
Year-to-date rainfall through March 31, 1998 is 2.14 inches greater than that for the same time last year. Twelve-month rainfall is 54.75 inches--about 120 percent of normal. The thirty-day outlook had called for below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.
The first week in the month saw temperatures one degree above normal and rainfall less than ten percent of normal. A strong Polar Maritime air mass was over the region early in the week, replaced by Tropical Maritime air at mid-week, and Polar Maritime air at week's end. A storm feature crossed on the 4th, producing one severe thunderstorm which crossed through Bowie County. This cell formed over McCurton County, Oklahoma, and held together across Northern Louisiana into Central Mississippi. An upper air storm crossed on the 7th, producing severe weather over the extreme eastern counties and general rainfall.
The storm ushered in an Arctic air mass, which held through the 13th. As a result, temperatures during the second week in March were eleven degrees colder than normal and rainfall was about one-half normal--most of which actually fell on the 7th with minimal amounts occurring on the 13th. At week's end, a powerful storm approached from the southwest and Gulf air returned strongly. This caused rain throughout the day on the 14th--which was reported the following day.
The temperatures during the week were the coldest since mid-December. The cold season demonstrated a rather typical El Nino Southern Oscillation signature, with below normal temperatures during its beginning and end and above-normal readings during its middle.
The third week in March saw near normal temperatures and rainfall about 200 percent of normal. Two upper air storms crossed during the week. The air mass between these storms was quite chilly, with above-normal temperatures early in the week.
The final ten days of the month saw temperatures nine degrees above normal and rainfall about 85 percent of normal. A strong storm feature crossed the night of the 30th, bringing scattered severe weather. Otherwise, an unseasonably strong Bermuda high pressure ridge pushed air into deep low pressure to the west for much of the week. This resulted in blustery winds from the 24th through the 30th, with a respite on the 28th. Velocities were in the moderate to fresh range at nights, and in the fresh to strong to occasionally high ranges during the daylight hours. The warm flow set two daily high maximum temperature records and one daily high minimum temperature mark.
The Bermuda High had eroded by the 31st with the passage of a weak Pacific cold front.
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 1998, RECORDS AND SUMMARY: