Across the country, more than 7,700 daily temperature records were broken last month, on the heels of the fourth warmest winter on record.
While it might be time to lie on a blanket in the park, climate scientists are worried. They say all these sunny days are actually an extreme weather event, one with local and global implications.
In Iowa, March was so hot — a record-breaking 84 degrees — that some crops there, like oats, are now running way ahead of schedule.
Joe Prusacki, a statistician with the Department of Agriculture, says this time of year Iowa usually has just 7 percent of its oats planted.
“Right now, they’re at 58 percent planted,” Prusacki says. “That’s because if you plant the crop now, it’s going to germinate and grow.”
It’s hard to say whether that could be good for farmers, since crops could still get hit with frost as late as May.
Even with the early warm weather, that chance of a hit of frost could spell trouble for farmers. But if you’ve got allergies, you may already be in trouble.
“Barring some sort of dramatic snow or change, we probably won’t see much relief until midsummer when things do calm down,” says Jim Sublett, an allergist in Louisville, Ky. He says patients have been coming to him with runny noses, itchy eyes and even asthma flare-ups since mid-February, about a month earlier than normal.