LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The snowstorm we're expecting on Tuesday may catch some people off guard since last year we only saw 0.5" of snow for the entire month of March. But big snowstorms are not uncommon in March.
Although March usually sees less snowfall than December, January, and February, four of the top-ten one-day snowfall records in La Crosse are for the month of March. And according to the National Weather Service, 25% of the top 25 one-day snow records are for March.
March also holds La Crosse's record for third highest recorded monthly snowfall in 1959, and the fourth greatest 1-day snowfall record was set on March 13, 1997 dropping over 14 inches of snow.
One of the reasons we can see a lot of snow in March is because storms are able to draw in more moisture. This is because the warmer March air can hold more moisture than the colder winter months
"We can get some pretty big snows this time of year because we typically see more moisture coming into these storms in March than we do in January or December," said Dan Baumgardt, Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in La Crosse. "So, March can see some pretty big snowstorms."
And unlike April or May which typically see little to no snowfall, the air is still cold enough to produce snow.
However, the consistency of Tuesday's snow will likely be more reminiscent of winter than spring.
"It's not going to be one of those heavy, wet spring snowfalls that we usually see in March," said Baumgardt. "What we'll see is a lighter snowfall. So shoveling, if you have to shovel a foot of snow it's going to be heavy. But it won't be as heavy as it could be."
Normal snowfall for the month of March is around seven inches. La Crosse has seen only trace accumulations so far this month.
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