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El Nino pattern leads to second warmest March in Grand Forks

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The abnormally warm cycle of an El Nino winter brought the second warmest March on record, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.

"We're still at the back end of an El Nino winter," NWS meteorologist Brad Hopkins said, alluding to an already above-average winter for temperatures.

February was the 15th warmest month on record, dating back to 1894.

The average temperature for March in Grand Forks was about 36 degrees, about 10 degrees above average, according to NWS. The city saw a high of 64 degrees on two separate occasions in mid-March.

"In March, that is kind of unusual," Hopkins said.

The coldest day of the month was also the first, with a low of just 5 degrees.

March was a below-average month for both rainfall and snow—just as it was in February—with 0.55 inches of precipitation, nearly a half inch below average.

Hopkins said to expect more of the same weather in the next couple of months.

"As we get deeper into the spring, the average temperatures will rise," Hopkins said, but it could take a couple of months to transition out of the El Nino pattern, when temperatures and precipitation will fall back in line with yearly averages.

The forecast for the next week is leaning toward cooler temperatures, Hopkins said, before entering a "transitory period" in which temperatures will fluctuate up and down before leveling out on the warmer side.

Today's high should reach 37 degrees with a low of 27, and Sunday's high should be 44 degrees with a low of 22, according to the NWS forecast. Clouds are expected to linger in the area over the weekend, with rain and snow possibly hitting Grand Forks Tuesday.

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