March 2017 had 17 rain days. In 134 years, this was beaten only by June 1950, which had 18. [See Note below: “Manilla rain day statistics”]
After the record high temperatures of February, day and night temperatures in March were normal, without extremes. On a weekly basis, the first half of the month was cooler than the second half. The subsoil temperature followed the weekly air temperature down, to be a degree below normal by the 20th.
The second week had mainly clear skies and low dew points, Then the skies became persistently cloudy and dew points were high. A number of afternoons had oppressive humidity, with minimum values over 70%.
Of the 17 rain days, only three were early in the month, and they had little rain. The highest daily reading of 15.0 mm came on the 22nd.
Comparing March months
March had been sunny and very warm in both 2016 and 2015. This March was like that of 2014 and 2013, but with even more moisture. The mean average temperature was normal but, due to the cloudiness (58% cloudy mornings), the mean daily maximum, 29.1° was low and the mean daily minimum, 16.4°, was high, yielding the record narrow daily temperature range for March of 12.7°. The mean early morning dew point, 13.7°, was the highest March value in a decade, and the mean afternoon humidity minimum, at 53%, was far above the usual value of 30%.
The total rainfall of 113.2 mm was at the 90th percentile, far above the March average of 54 mm. The previous month, February, had only 4.1 mm, at the 4th percentile for that month. Taken together the two-month total of 117.3 mm was well above normal, at the 63rd percentile.
[Note: Manilla rain day statistics
The number of rain days in a month at Manilla reached 18 only once, in June 1950. Both June 2016 and this month, March 2017, had 17 rain days. This month’s high number is more remarkable, as March has only 4.8 rain days on average. Most months of the year have about six rain days on average, but the autumn months of March, April, and May have an average of 4.6 rain days per month. The averages are posted here.]
Data. In 2016, a Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge (formerly used for flood prediction) was set up in the museum yard as the official Manilla rain gauge. From 23 May 2016, its daily readings were published as if from Manilla Post Office, Station 55031. The gauge ceased transmitting five months later, on 7 October 2016. This month, after repair, it came into operation again. From 17 March 2017, daily readings are now published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.
In these reports,the rainfall data is from Station 55031 or Station 55312 when available. Otherwise, rainfall data is from 3 Monash Street, Manilla. All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are also from there.