March 2016 was more like a lamb than a lion in New York City this year. With an average temperature of 48.9°F in Central Park, which is a staggering 6.4°F above average, it was the city’s 4th warmest March on record.
Overall, we had 23 out of 31 days with above average temperatures. Five of those days posted readings in the 70s and two set new daily high temperature records. Historically, our average temperature for the month is 42.5°F.
While a few warm days in March is not that uncommon, this extended pattern of sustained warmth was unusual. Driven primarily by El Niño, a persistent ridge in the jet stream over the eastern US allowed warm southern air to flow further north than it normally would at this time of year.
Given this unseasonable warmth, it is not surprising that only 0.9 inches of snow was measured in Central Park this March. On average, NYC usually receives 3.90 inches of snow for the month. Rainfall was also scarce. In all, the city received a mere 1.17 inches of rain. That is 3.19 inches below normal.