I have collected several discussions from NWS offices and elsewhere about the warm March and why it happened. Most of these reports offer more details about specific locations. The technical report goes into considerable detail about the underlying meteorological conditions.
- Northeast Illinois (NWS Chicago)
- Central Illinois (NWS Lincoln)
- Northwest Illinois (NWS Davenport)
- Southwest Illinois (NWS St. Louis)
- Southern Illinois (NWS Paducah
- Technical Report (NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory)
In a nutshell (I always think of the Austin Power’s movie when I say that), March 2012 was dominated by unusually strong and steady flow of warm, moist air out of the Gulf of Mexico. That is in sharp contrast to a typical March where we swing back and forth between winter and spring-like temperatures as cold fronts and warm fronts often move through the state.
In fact, from a national perspective the widespread warm March has drawn comparisons to March 1910. See for yourself how these two compared.