Spring here, but March can bring fickle weather

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Spring arrived Monday with nearly all the snow in the area gone and the high temperature reaching 55 degrees – 14 degrees above the March 20 average high of 41 degrees. Sunday was even warmer with the high hitting 64 degrees.

But it is spring in Minnesota. While we can see a high of 73 degrees (March 6) early in the month, we could still see some cold temperatures and snow in the weeks ahead.

Last year the Benson area saw its third warmest March on record with highs reaching into the 70 both March 11 and March 12. The Benson Golf Course even saw one of its earliest openings ever with golfers teeing off March 12.

But one month after those same golfers would have had to go a long ways south of Benson to find temperatures warm enough for golf. The low in Benson fell to a record low of 12 degrees March 12, 2016. While temperatures warmed considerably after that, the area still saw low fall to 27 degrees May 15.

April saw nearly 3 inches of snow. Big white softly fall snowflakes briefly filled he skies May 14, but melted on contact with the warm ground.

Marches penchant for yo-yo temperatures returns with temperatures falling to season highs in the low 40s later this week and the chance of snow entering the forecast.

Despite March being known as the snowiest month of the year, with an average of 8.43 inches, March 2016 saw just 2.5 inches and we’ve only had 5.1 inches so far this month.

March has the record for the heaviest monthly snowfall with 37.2 inches accumulating in 1964. In both 2013 and 2014, Benson received over 10 inches of snow.

Spring Monday when the sun crossed the equator into the northern sky and the Earth was lighted from pole to pole.  Known as the vernal equinox, the day marks the time when the day and night are of nearly equal length around much of the world.

The date on which we are closest to exactly 12 hours of sunlight in western Minnesota was actually March 17. The sun rose at 7:32 and set at 7:31 on St. Patrick’s Day.

The days are steadily getting longer with two to three minutes of sunlight added each day. We will see more sunlight each day until June 21, the longest day of the year, when the sun rises at 5:34 a.m. and sets at 9:14 p.m. After that, the days will gradually begin to shorten....


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