Average temperatures in Washington, D.C. (Reagan National Airport) in 2012 compared to normal and four other warmest years (NOAA)

Through the first quarter of the year, 2012 emerged to take the lead from the pack of other extremely warm years in Washington, D.C.’s historic past. The above time series shows the year’s journey: starting warm, dipping to near normal for only about a day, and then steadily holding ground in unseasonably mild territory.

The above graph comes courtesy the National Climatic Data Center’s State of the Climate Report for March, which contains a wealth of interesting graphs and tables.

The two tables below put temperatures in both March, and January through March, in some perspective in Maryland and Virginia. The table on the left shows how March’s temperature departure from normal (how much it was above average) compared to all other calendar months on record. The table on the right ranks the warmest January through March periods.

Note that March 2012 was the 5th warmest calendar month compared to normal in Maryland on record and the 4th warmest in Virginia. Both Maryland and Virginia had their second warmest January-March on record.

The tables below track these same metrics for the Northeast (which includes Maryland) and Southeast (which includes Virginia).

Note that March 2012 was the second warmest calendar month compared to normal in the Northeast and 8th warmest in the Southeast. In both the Northeast and the Southeast, the January through March period was warmest on record.