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March exits but leaves behind a record snowfall

A dog gets his walk in spite of

A dog gets his walk in spite of the falling snow on Main St. in East Hampton, March 28, 2015. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

So long, March. It's not been nice knowin' ya.

In the wake of February, the coldest month on record at Long Island MacArthur Airport, March has wrapped up its tenure as the snowiest March since records started being kept there in 1984.

That's with snowfall of 19.7 inches, as of the end of Monday, with 4.5 inches the norm for the month, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University.

The new No. 2 spot is 2009, with 13.6 inches.

Of course, the Island has seen even snowier years.

Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton recorded 31.5 inches 1967 and 22.5 inches in 1958. As for this March -- 23.9 inches have fallen, according to the BNL website.

"March seemed to follow the trend of winter. It was cold and snowy," said Jessica Spaccio, climatologist with the center.

With an average temperature of 35 as of Monday, it ranked as the second coldest March after 1984 and its 34.6 degree average, she said.

The normal average temperature for the month is 39.3 degrees.

Highs Tuesday, the last day of the month, topped out at about 49 degrees with the temperature, rain and even a few snowflakes falling by late afternoon.

The month recorded 19 days with below-normal average temperatures, with 11 of them occurring since and including March 18.

The widest departure from normal, 16 degrees, was registered March 6, which saw an average temperature for the day of 20 degrees.

Just before March 20, when spring officially arrived -- in name only -- long-range forecasters said that winter was not expected to release its grip until into April.

That was thanks to the persistence of a stubborn weather pattern allowing the jet stream to dip down closer to the area, delivering colder air.

Looking ahead to the first two weeks of April, the Climate Prediction Center says there's an equal chance of above, below or just at normal temperatures, with 49.5 degrees the norm.

Beyond that? Rich Hoffman, News 12 Long Island meteorologist, said, "I do see a trend to normal and a little warmer weather after April 15."

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