The National Weather Service has released its monthly climate summary for March, calling it one of the coldest and snowiest in years for the Anchorage area. Temperatures in the first half of the month started out well below normal, with morning lows during the first week in the single digits or colder.
The chilliest temperature of the month was 8 degrees below zero, recorded on March 7. High temperatures during the first week were in the teens and low 20s, helping make the average March high temperature the coldest on record at 27.8 degrees. This was the fourth consecutive month with below-average temperatures in Anchorage, and the ninth coldest March overall on record, out of a total of 63 Marches. Anchorage has not seen four consecutive months of temperatures below average since 2009.
The month also began unusually dry, with no measurable precipitation recorded for 28 days straight from Feb. 28 to March 27. That stretch of no-precipitation days was the 21st longest on record. The weather pattern changed by late March, with a total of 10.3 inches of snow recorded in just three days at the end of the month, more than the average monthly snowfall amount of 9.9 inches. A total of 8.4 inches of that snow was recorded on March 29 alone, making it the eighth snowiest March day on record. March 2017 will also go down as the 26th snowiest on record overall.
All of the fresh snowfall at the end of the month brought the snow depth in Anchorage up to 26 inches. That’s the second-deepest snow depth at the end of March on record. Only March 2004 had more snow on the ground at the end of the month, at 30 inches. With more than 82 inches of snow so far since October, the 2016-2017 snow season is currently ranked as the 16th snowiest on record.