During the period of January–March 2016, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 4.6 degrees F above the 20th-century average, ranking as the third warmest on record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Alaska had its warmest start to the year on record, while 32 states across the West, Great Plains, Midwest and Northeast were much warmer than average. The year-to-date average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 0.04 inch below the 20th-century average.
The March average temperature for the Lower 48 was 6.0 degrees F above the 20th-century average, which ranks as the third warmest March on record and the warmest since 2012. Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average March temperature, but no state was record warm. The March precipitation total was 0.38 inch above average and ranked near the middle of the 122-year period of record.