National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The background map in Figure 1 shows the geographic regions of west-central Texas, which are referenced in this monthly weather summary. 

Figure 1:  Geographic Regions of West-Central Texas.

Precipitation for March was near to above normal across most of west-central Texas (Figure 2). 

Figure 2: Percent of Normal Precipitation for March, 2015.

Much of west-central Texas received between 2 and 4 inches of precipitation in March, with scattered pockets of amounts above and below this range (not shown).  Even for the scattered areas where the monthly precipitation was below normal, the monthly rainfall amounts were mostly greater than 1.5 inches (not shown).

Temperatures averaged slightly below normal for the month. Table 1 (below) summarizes March 2015 temperature, precipitation, and departure from normal for Abilene and San Angelo. 


Average Temperature(Degrees F)

Departure from Normal(Degrees F) Normal Average Temperature(Degrees F) Total Precipitation(Inches) Departure from Normal(Inches) Normal March Precipitation(Inches) Total Snowfall(inches)
Abilene  55.7  -0.7 56.4 1.60 -0.14 1.74 0.6
San Angelo  57.1  -0.7 57.8 1.66 0.16 1.50 0.2

Table 1: March Climate Data for Abilene and San Angelo.

Freezing drizzle, which began during the overnight hours of February 27th and 27th, continued into the morning of March 1st.  Temperatures moderated somewhat, but remained well-below normal on the 1st and 2nd while cloud cover persisted.  Areas of fog and locally dense fog occurred during the post-Midnight hours of the 3rd. A brief warmup occurred on the 3rd, as skies cleared with south winds.   

A significant winter weather event occurred on March 4.  Much colder air invaded the area behind a cold frontal passage on the 4th.  Rain showers changed to freezing rain and sleet, from north to south during the afternoon and evening, as temperatures dropped rapidly into the upper 20s to lower 30s.  A few thunderstorms also occurred across west-central Texas.  The precipitation mixed with and changed to snow before ending across much of the Big Country. The higher accumulations of snow, sleet and ice were mostly across northern and eastern parts of west-central Texas.  A glaze of ice on area roadways created hazardous travel conditions.  With brisk north winds during the overnight hours of the 4th and 5th, wind chill values dropped into the 8-15 degree range across the Big Country, and into the teens farther south across much of the rest of west-central Texas.  With clear skies, dry air and light winds, temperatures dipped into the 20-25 degree range for early morning lows on the 6th.

A gradual warming trend ensued on March 6-7.  With the approach of an upper level disturbance from the west and southwest, moisture and cloud cover increased on the 8th. Areas of fog and drizzle developed during the overnight hours of the 8th and 9th, and the fog was locally dense.  Rain occurred on the 9th.  Some locations southeast of a Junction  to Richland Springs line, and across the Big Country area along and north of Interstate 20, received one half to one inch of rainfall.  The lowest rainfall amounts, occurred across the area southwest of San Angelo.   

A period of dry and pleasant weather occurred March 10-16 with the influence of weak surface high pressure.  Temperatures were close to normal, with mostly clear skies.  Areas of fog, locally dense, occurred on the early morning of the 11th.      

A couple of wet weather events occurred during the second half of March.  The first of these occurred on the 17th and 18th, when an upper level storm system over Mexico weakened as it lifted northeast into Texas.  The rainfall for this event is encapsulated in the seven day rainfall graphic, shown in Figure 4.


Figure 4: Precipitation for the 7-day period ending at 7 AM, March 19.

Most of the rainfall occurred south of Interstate 20, and the heaviest amounts (around one inch) occurred from just northwest of Mertzon to near Water Valley. 

The second wet weather event occurred on the 20th and 21st, when an upper level storm system moved slowly east from The Baja Peninsula into Mexico, and a few disturbances entered Texas in the southwest flow aloft, out ahead of this system.  The rainfall tapered off as the weakening system lifted northeast across west-central Texas, late on the 21st.  The rainfall for this event is shown in Figure 5. 

Figure 5: Precipitation for the 7-day period ending at 7 AM, March 25.

Most of the rainfall for the 7-day period (March 19-26) occurred on the 20th and 21st, with the exception of extreme southern Brown, northeastern Mcculloch, and northwestern San Saba Counties.  The heaviest rainfall (2-3 inches) occurred mostly across the southern half of west-central Texas.

Following a cold frontal passage, temperatures were much cooler on the 20th and 21st.  With rainfall and widespread cloud cover, highs were in the 50s across much of the area. 

Following departure of this system, drier and much warmer conditions occurred on March 22-25.  Afternoon highs were in the 70s on the 22nd, and mostly in the lower to mid 80s on the 23rd.  The warmest temperatures for the month occurred on the 24th and 25th, when highs were mostly in the mid to upper 80s. A dryline advanced east across parts of west-central Texas on the 24th and 25th.  Afternoon relative humidity values dropped mostly into the 15-25 percent range behind the dryline.  

A couple of severe storms occurred on the evening of the 25th, across the Heartland area.  Golfball size hail was reported at Mercury (Mcculloch County), and quarter size hail occurred at Elm Grove (San Saba County).  These storms developed in warm and unstable air east of a dryline, and south of an approaching cold front.  The below radar animation (Figure 6) shows the track of these storms across northern Mcculloch and northwestern San Saba Counties.

Figure 6:  Animated National Weather Service San Angelo Radar Imagery, for March 25 (between 6:37 PM and 8:58 PM).

A strong cold front advanced south across west-central Texas during the overnight hours of the 25th and 26. Gusty north winds occurred for several hours in the wake of this front.Peak wind gusts were over 40 mph at a number of locations across the area. Temperatures were much cooler on the 26th, with afternoon highs in the lower to mid 60s.

Temperatures were much warmer on the 28th and 29th, with generally clear skies and south-southwest winds.  Afternoon highs on the 29th were in the upper 80s to lower 90s.  This marked the first occurrence of 90-degree temperatures at San Angelo (high of 93) and Abilene (high of 91).  A cold front advanced south into the the Big Country during the afternoon of the 29th, and across the Concho Valley and Heartland areas during the evening hours.  Gusty north winds briefly followed passage of this cold front. 

A couple of severe thunderstorms occurred in the western Big Country, on the evening of the 31st.  Low-level moisture returned to the area on the 31st, with south winds. With the approach of a dryline from the west, a few thunderstorms developed and affected the Big Country west of Abilene. Quarter size hail was reported in Nolan County, about 5 miles southeast of Sweetwater (at the Lake Sweetwater Golf Course) and 5 miles west-southwest of Trent.