We didn't break any records, but the suburbs had a wetter March than we're used to

The Chicago area saw more than an inch of extra precipitation in March than what the region has averaged over the past 152 years.

That's according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service offices in Romeoville who said 3.69 inches fell last month at O'Hare International Airport, the area's primary weather station.

The area has averaged 2.64 inches of precipitation in March since weather records began in 1871, agency figures show.

“We've had very active low pressure systems come through very quickly, bringing that moisture with them with fairly cooler temperatures,” meteorologist Brian Leatherwood said.

While March didn't set any records for precipitation, it might have felt wetter than normal due to the milder winter the region experienced, Leatherwood said.

“We saw below average snowfall this winter, so that might make the extra precipitation we got last month feel like more than it was,” he said.

And it's certainly more than the area is used to getting in recent memory.

Only 1.25 inches of precipitation was recorded in the Chicago area for March 2021, while less than inch dropped in March 2020.

Since 2000, only two Marches have been wetter than this year — 2017 with 4.01 inches and 2009 with 5.2 inches, agency records show.

The precipitation the Chicago area received in March 2009 is the fifth highest amount recorded for that month ever. The wettest March on record was in 1922 when 5.58 inches of precipitation fell on the Chicago area over the 31-day span.

This past March ranks as the 32nd wettest March for the Chicago area, weather service records show.

“We're not breaking any records, just running a little bit high,” Leatherwood said. “Nothing too special.”

And April, so far, is shaping up to be fairly average, Leatherwood added.

The first week of April usually averages a half-inch of precipitation. Currently, the weather station at O'Hare has recorded 0.6 inches of precipitation since April 1.

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