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Despite parting shot, March weather on LI full of near-misses

Snow falls Monday morning, March 31, 2014, on

Snow falls Monday morning, March 31, 2014, on Pinelawn Road in Melville. Credit: James Carbone

Yes, it did seem like a less than gracious parting shot.

As of Sunday, snowfall for the month at Long Island MacArthur Airport was just 0.8 of an inch, all of which fell on March 3.

But, March went and surprised forecasters and Long Islanders alike by delivering on its final day a daily record 4.6 inches of snow at the airport. That brought the month's snowfall total to 5.4 inches, with 4.5 inches the norm, said Lauren Nash, National Weather Service meteorologist based in Upton.

This was also in the aftermath of January and February, which many will remember for their freezing cold days, some dramatic temperature swings and back-to-back-to-back snowstorms.

Indeed, the area did "luck out" in March as several storms stayed far enough to the south to have little or no effect, Nash said. And, then there was last week's near-miss of an intense nor'easter that went on to pummel New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

The month's total precipitation, including liquid equivalent of snow, was 5.9 inches, and that's 1.46 above the norm, according to weather service data. Close to half of that arrived Saturday, which brought record rainfall of 2.68 inches, the service said.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor's website, that and Monday's snowfall won't be reflected until Thursday in its maps, which indicate that parts of Long Island are "abnormally dry."

Temperature-wise, this year's average for the month was 35.8 degrees, 3.5 degrees short of normal.

And just look at the swing -- this year's high was 65 degrees on March 11, with the low of 12 degrees on March 1 and 4. Compare that range to last year, and we see a high of 58 and low of 25.

Since 1984, Long Island's weather records for the airport in Ronkonkoma have been kept by the weather service. From 1949 to 1983, the records were maintained by the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton.

Looking ahead, the Climate Prediction Center indicates a 33 percent to 40 percent chance of below normal temperatures for April, with 49.6 degrees the month's average, Nash said.

As for precipitation, the prediction center shows an equal chance of above, below and right at normal, with 3.97 inches the norm.

Finally, as a gentle reminder, the weather service on its Facebook page points out that 0.6 of an inch of snow at the airport is the norm for April.

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