George R. Kasica
Atlantic City, New Jersey Climatology

The area around Atlantic City, New Jersey in March (the period for which we were forecasting was from March 12 - March 23, 2007) typically experiences temperatures in the low 50's for high temperatures and in the low to middle 30's for lows during that time. Precipitation is somewhat high with the average day receiving about 0.12" of liquid precipitation. Looking at the extremes for the high and low temperatures in the detailed table you can see however that temperatures have reached to as high as 85 for a high and as low as a frigid 7 degrees, so a very wide range of temperatures is possible in the area during this period given that it sits just off the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and wind directions play a major role in its temperatures on a daily basis as you'll see below.

(Map of New Jersey provided courtesy of NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory)

Looking below you can see the obvious prevalence of wind directions in the wind rose for March which shows the prevailing west to northwest winds (click for full size image). In March these winds averaged speeds near 20 mph on many days. Often times the result of these strong W-NW winds was that there were significant downsloping winds from the Appalachians that were warmed as they descended from the higher elevation and as a result of this they significantly warmed the area even on days when it was cloudy or possibly even with precipitation. This feature of the local climate made forecasting the high and low temperatures significantly more difficult than in other areas as it was entirely possible to see the temperature rise a substantial amount at night when there was no solar heating and you would normally expect it to be falling to its lowest point. Conversely, if the winds were to come from any sort of an easterly direction they would be coming off of the Atlantic Ocean, which at this time of year is about 38F and as a result we could see significant drops in the temperature or a failure of the temperature to rise even under strong solar heating. (The information for the detailed look at the daily average and extreme temperatures was provided by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Philadelphia/New Holly, Pennsylvania  NowData resource.)

(March prevailing wind directions courtesy of the National Resources Conservation Service - click picture for full size image)

In terms of precipitation, measurable snow is not common in March.  Typically they receive about 0.5" though they do rarely get heavy snowfalls, such as back in 1969 when they received 17.6" for the month and 11.5" of that in one 24 hour period. So the majority of the average 4.06" of liquid precipitation they do receive comes in the form of rain. Therefore, predicting a 15" snow blizzard or even a 4" snow fall is not something you would routinely expect to be doing for this area during that time period. (All of the above climatic statistical data was provided courtesy of the Philadelphia/New Holly, Pennsylvania National Weather Service Forecast Office climatic narrative).

Given the data above, you can see that forecasting for Atlantic City is a complex process due to the influence of the wind both from the land as well as the ocean and how it can affect the temperatures and precipitation amounts. So clearly a major challenge for Atlantic City will be to accurately predict the wind direction and speeds as it can have a major bearing on the forecast.

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