Almanac for March 2015

23 February 2015 Written by 
Published in Monthly Almanacs

Unpredictable and Chaotic March

For weather, March is the most unpredictable month of the year, with the widest range of temperature. Some years, the temperature never falls below 0°F.  That would be welcome this year after a record cold February. Most years, March is the last chance to ski, snowhoe, or snowmobile. Some ski resorts have discount prices as the season comes to a close with warmer weather and melting snow.

 

Utica’s March Weather

Average High Temperature   44 degrees F          Average Low Temperature 24

Record High 87                                                         Record Low  -15

Average precipitation  3.19 inches

Occasionally, March is exceptionally warm. One recent year there were several days in the 80s. Many overnight low temperatures were warmer than the average high temperature of 44°F. Being too warm in March can have adverse effects on agriculture. If April or May turns out to be cold and fruit trees are at blossom stage early, a heavy frost can be devastating to apples, pears, and peaches.

A warmer-than-average March limits the quality and quantity of maple syrup production. Sap runs best when the days are in the 40°s and nights in the 20°s. Numerous regional maple syrup producers have special events on Maple Weekends, held across the state on the last two weekends in March. To find maple producers and events near you on the last two weekends of March, see this website: http://www.nysmaple.com/maple-weekend-search/plan-your-maple-weekend//locations

 

Some Weekly Observances  in March

 

~1st Week~  Turn-Off the TV Week

 

~2nd Week~  Chocolate Week

 

~3rd Week~  National Wildlife Week

~4th Week~  Art Week

Most years, crocuses are just starting to bloom by late March. In the Mohawk Valley it might be possible to get outdoors and start the vegetable garden, planting onions, lettuce, spinach, beets, radishes and carrots. If this is done during the brief window of opportunity, a few inches of snow later in March or early April is no problem and can even be beneficial. As the snow melts for the last time, it reveals sprouts of green that can provide fresh salad by Memorial Day.

The Great American Heart Run-Walk is a major event of late winter. Thousands of people participate in this annual fundraiser. Walkers and runners, plus hundreds of organizers and observers make this one of the largest such events in the country.

This year’s event is March 6-7.  A health expo is on Friday at Utica College and WKTV has a telehon. The WIBX Radio radiotthon is on Saturday during the various walks and runs, from three to thirty miles are on Saturday morning. With the cold weather we have had this year, be sure to dress warm if participating in the annual event.

 

March Holidays and Observances  

 

March 2      Texas Independence Day

 

March 3      Town Meeting Day (Vermont) (first Tuesday)

 

March 15    Ides of March

 

Andrew Jackson Day (Tennessee)

 

March 17    St. Patrick's Day

 

                  Evacuation Day (Boston and Suffolk County, Massachusetts)

 

March 21    Bird Day (Iowa) 

 

March 25    Maryland Day

 

                  Greek Independence Day

 

March 26    Kuhio Day - Hawaii

 

March 31        Seward’s Day (Alaska--last Monday)

 

Utica’s St. Patrick Day Parade

Many people remember March weather by what it was like during Utica’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In 1993, on parade day it was cold and snowy. Eighteen inches of new snow was the final outcome. This was immortalized by Dolly Parton, who was in town for a Saturday night concert that was postponed for a day. She recounted on late night television a few days later about viewing the “crazy people” marching in the streets during this near blizzard as seen from her hotel window in downtown Utica. 

In 2012 (or 2013) the parade day was exceptionally warm with temperatures in the 60°s F, instead of the “normal” temperatures of mid 30°s to mid-40°s.  Let’s hope that the March 14th parade, starting at 10:00 at the Round About, Oneida Square in Utica occurs this year on a day with average or above average temperatures.

Whatever the weather, for many in the region, St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural seasonal icon marking the beginning of spring. With the vernal equinox a few days later. Easter follows, this year on April 5, and spring has finally arrived. That will certainly be welcome after the coldest since 1979.   

In the Night Skies for March 2015

Full Worm Moon                   March 5

Last Quarter                           March 13

New Moon                            March 20

First Quarter                           March 27       

Times on March 20

The Vernal Equinox

Rises 

Sets

Sun

7:02 A.M.

7:13 P.M. EST

Moon

7:07 A.M.

7:51 A.M.

Venus

8:22 A.M.

10:10 P.M.

Mars

7:56 A.M.

9:05 P.M.

Jupiter

2:59 P.M.

5:28 A.M.

Saturn

12:37 A.M.

10:11 A.M.

Uranus

7:44 A.M.

8:30 P.M.

All of the times for this month are in Eastern Standard Time, as we “spring forward” at 2:00 A.M. on Sunday, March 8. The indigenous peoples called March the Full Worm Moon. It is on March 8th this year.

Jupiter and the waxing gibbous Moon meet in conjunction on March 2. The full Worm Moon is on March 5th

Using binoculars, if the nights are clear, one might see the Uranus. On March 4th it is near Venus the evening star with Mars below. On March 11th, the green planet is in close conjunction with orange-hued Mars with Jupiter is slightly above them both.

The vernal equinox occurs at 6:45 P.M. EST on March 20. This year there is a solar eclipse on the equinox, seen in the Faroe Islands near northern Scotland and north to the North Pole.

The crescent Moon meets Mars on March 21st, and passes near Venus to its right on March 22.

Astrology

Pisces February 20-March 20

Aries   March 21-April 20

These monthly columns on seasonal weather, astronomy, holidays, and festivals in the Mohawk Valley will soon be availale at the Mohawk Valley Almanac web site. Mohawkvalleyalmanac.com

Read 204 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 16:20
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Roger Chambers

Roger Chambers is a regsitered nurse, working in geriatric nursing for over 30 years. Since 1997 he has tended a large organic garden at his urban home. He has traveled widely in the US and Canada, Europe and Latin America.

He has had several articles in hobby publications on shortwave radio, and several poems in local arts journals and newspapers. An avid fan of birds and the Adirondack Mountains, at present he is largely focused on natural seasonal changes, holidays, and associated local fairs and festivals.

Roger resides in the beautiful Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York.

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