While everyone wondered if severe weather that gripped northern Utah in February would ever change, all they had to do was wait a month. And then, oh what a difference.

The weather did a complete flip-flop during March, with the average temperature being 45.8 degrees, which is 5.1 degrees above the average monthly temperature of 40.7 degrees, said William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service.And temperatures so far during April are showing a similar pattern. The first few days of the month were moderately wet, but it has been basically dry and mild in recent days.

"We were running 5 degrees above normal temperatures through the 11th," Alder said.

Warmer temperatures made March the fifth warmest March on record - exceeded only by 1934, 49.2 degrees; 1978, 48; 1986, 47.7; and 1972, 46.9.

The 76 degrees recorded on March 9 was the warmest temperature so early in the year and spring season. This was a major contrast from biting cold of February, which went in the books as the fifth coldest month ever at 8.8 degrees below normal. March followed on the heels of the coldest winter in 16 years.

Curiously, the 76-degree reading on March 9 came just five days after the low for the month (15 degrees) was set March 4.

The water picture for March was slightly above normal. A total of 1.77 inches of precipitation was recorded at the airport measuring station. That is 103 percent of normal. However, Alder said the water year, which began last Oct. 1, remains below normal at 6.70 inches - or 82 percent. Normal is 8.13 inches.

Included among the March weather data is the fact that the lowest pressure ever for the month was recorded. The barometer was at 29.07 inches of mercury on March 10. The previous March low was 29.11 inches, set March 10, 1954.

A peak wind gust of 59 mph also fell just shy of the March record of 62 mph set on March 2, 1974.