April 3, 2020: Comparing 2020 to 2019
What a difference a year makes. Last year we were discussing what a cold, and in some places, extremely wet (i.e. Central Plains) March it had been. While it does not really compare to the current global pandemic we’re observing, we thought it still might be of interest to see how different this past March was compared to the March of last year. The images below are pretty striking. The first two show how much 2019 and 2020 deviated from what we would typically expect (based on averages from the 30 years between 1981-2010). Not a lot of oranges or reds. Just a lot of blue! The last image shows the percent difference of 2019 to 2020. While the percent difference was positive for most of the country, we really see big positive values in the Northern Plains. Some places in North and South Dakota saw a 60% or more increase in their average March temperature. That’s pretty striking. The Southern Plains have also seen an increase but mostly in the 10%-30% range.
Based on the latest seasonal forecast models, we shouldn’t see anything like 2019. In fact, most of the Southern Plains has a better than even chance of a warm spring and early summer. Not a very clear signal for precipitation over the next three months, unfortunately.
Given everything going on, you could say that about a lot of things.