Record warm March leads to fifth month with above-average temperatures

Maryland and Washington, D.C. residents know that when the cherry blossoms start blooming, April – along with its spring temperatures – has arrived. This year, these flowers got an early start on spring, blooming earlier than they have in the last 12 years because of the record-high temperatures and near record-low precipitation amounts in March.

According to Washington Post weather expert Matt Rogers, March's temperatures have never been this high, at least since record-keeping began in 1871. Last month also only saw 1.02 inches of precipitation – good enough for the sixth-driest March on record, but far short of the 0.05 inches recorded in 2006.

"We experienced so many warm days and mild evenings that the average temperature was 10 degrees above normal," Rogers writes. "The average temperature of 56.8 degrees was 5.1 degrees warmer than the last top 10 warm March that occurred in 2000. Remarkably, 2012’s average March temperature was exactly the same as the 1981-2010 average April temperature in Washington, D.C."

Residents in the Tri-State area were not alone in experiencing abnormal weather patterns – Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Chicago, Syracuse and St. Louis were among the 20 cities that endured March temperatures more than 10 degrees higher than normal.

Homeowners in these areas may not have gotten the return-on-investment they expected when they instituted energy improvements to their homes, such as energy-efficient heating and insulation, last summer. Should these high temperatures continue into the summer, though, residents may need to contact a local home inspection provider to determine what improvements can be made to ensure homes are kept cool throughout the warmest months of the year, without crippling a homeowner financially.