The “winter that wasn’t” left much of the nation – including Augusta – sweating through an exceptionally hot March.
In fact, more than 15,000 temperature records across the country were broken last month, reported Bloomberg News, and the country had its first $1 billion-plus weather disaster of the year – tornadoes in the Southeast and the Ohio Valley that killed at least 40 people.
The mercury in Augusta topped 80 degrees on 15 days in March and dropped to 32 degrees only once, according to the National Weather Service.
The average temperature recorded at Augusta Regional Airport was 64 degrees, which is 8.1 degrees above average.
The Associated Press reported Monday that temperatures throughout the lower 48 states were 8.6 degrees above normal for March and 6 degrees higher than average for the first three months of the year.
Meteorologists say an unusual confluence of several weather patterns, including La Nina, was the direct cause of the warm start to 2012.
Normally, March averages 42.5 degrees across the country. This year, the average was 51.1 degrees, which is closer to the average for April. On only one other time, in January 2006, was the country as a whole that much hotter than normal for an entire month.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the average temperature last month was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average and half a degree above the previous all-time high set in 1910.
For the first eight days of April, temperatures in Augusta remained exceptionally high, averaging 7 degrees above normal; the highest temperature, 89 degrees, was recorded April 2.
Associated Press and Bloomberg News reports were used in this article.