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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published March 20 2013

Weather Talk: Cold March could lead to a rapid melt in April

March is running about 9 degrees below average, and that number is dropping as our weather remains cold against the backdrop of the average temperature, which rises steadily during the month. There have only been two days this month above freezing: one at 33 and one at 35 degrees.

The last time March was this cold was in 1969. That March, there were just five days all month with a temperature above freezing, and a heavy snowpack did not melt at all until April. When the thaw finally began, it rained heavily, and the flood of 1969 was, for many years, the modern-day mark for serious spring flooding.

The Red River in Fargo crested in Fargo at 38.2 feet on April 15. It is difficult to compare 1969 with 2013 as there are as many differences as there are similarities. But the lesson of 1969 is that a cold March increases the possibility of heavy rain and a rapid melt in April.


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