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March weather roars like a wet lion

PROSSER, Wash. – It’s obvious that a Washingtonian did not coin the phrase about March weather “coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb.” Widespread heavy rain and flooding during the final week of March punctuated a month of record setting rainfall.

“Long Beach recorded 15.6 inches of rain last month, which is the highest March rainfall total ever recorded at an AgWeatherNet weather station,” said Nic Loyd, meteorologist for Washington State University’s Agricultural Weather Network. “The Long Beach station recorded 3 inches of rain in a single day, March 12, and experienced only five rain-free days during the entire month.”

According to the National Weather Service, Spokane received a record 4.56 inches of rain last month, smashing the previous record by three-quarters of an inch. March 29 was a particularly wet day in Washington, with nearly two inches of rain in southwestern Washington from the coast to Olympia.

“One notable advantage of the recent cool and wet weather is that the Cascade Mountain snowpack was above normal at the end of March,” said AgWeatherNet Director Gerrit Hoogenboom.

March featured other notable events such as a late-season storm that brought several inches of snow to coastal regions on March 12. On March 21, an early spring snow fell in eastern Washington from Pullman to Spokane.

Persistently stormy conditions contributed to below normal monthly average temperatures across the state, especially during the day. There were several cold nights during the month, including the morning of March 19, when low temperatures dropped to around 20 degrees in the colder locations.

Conditions in the remainder of the country posed a stark contrast to the stormy maritime weather of Washington. Many locations in the northern U. S. set heat records, with highs in the 80s from North Dakota to Maine during the middle of the month.

For more information on Washington’s March weather, please see the March Weather Review on the AgWeatherNet website,, located under the News link. A Web based, publicly available system, AgWeatherNet provides access to near real-time weather data and value-added products from WSU’s statewide weather network, along with decision aids for agricultural producers and other users.

Media Contacts

Nic Loyd, WSU agricultural meteorologist,