Average Weather in March in Chicago Illinois, United States
Daily high temperatures increase by 10°F, from 40°F to 51°F, rarely falling below 28°F or exceeding 67°F.
Daily low temperatures increase by 10°F, from 29°F to 38°F, rarely falling below 17°F or exceeding 48°F.
For reference, on July 19, the hottest day of the year, temperatures in Chicago typically range from 71°F to 83°F, while on January 29, the coldest day of the year, they range from 22°F to 33°F.
Average High and Low Temperature in March
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the hourly average temperatures for the quarter of the year centered on March. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature in March
The month of March in Chicago experiences essentially constant cloud cover, with the percentage of time that the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy remaining about 54% throughout the month.
The clearest day of the month is March 29, with clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy conditions 48% of the time.
For reference, on December 29, the cloudiest day of the year, the chance of overcast or mostly cloudy conditions is 59%, while on August 27, the clearest day of the year, the chance of clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy skies is 68%.
Cloud Cover Categories in March
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. In Chicago, the chance of a wet day over the course of March is rapidly increasing, starting the month at 19% and ending it at 27%.
For reference, the year's highest daily chance of a wet day is 37% on May 27, and its lowest chance is 15% on January 30.
Over the course of March in Chicago, the chance of a day with only rain increases from 14% to 26%, the chance of a day with mixed snow and rain remains an essentially constant 2% throughout, and the chance of a day with only snow decreases from 3% to 0%.
Probability of Precipitation in March
To show variation within the month and not just the monthly total, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day.
The average sliding 31-day rainfall during March in Chicago is increasing, starting the month at 1.4 inches, when it rarely exceeds 2.8 inches or falls below 0.4 inches, and ending the month at 2.4 inches, when it rarely exceeds 4.2 inches or falls below 1.0 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall in March
We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. As with rainfall, we consider the liquid-equivalent snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day.
The average sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall during March in Chicago is essentially constant, remaining about 0.1 inches throughout, and rarely exceeding 0.6 inches or falling below -0.0 inches.
Average Monthly Liquid-Equivalent Snowfall in March
Over the course of March in Chicago, the length of the day is rapidly increasing. From the start to the end of the month, the length of the day increases by 1 hour, 25 minutes, implying an average daily increase of 2 minutes, 49 seconds, and weekly increase of 19 minutes, 45 seconds.
The shortest day of the month is March 1, with 11 hours, 15 minutes of daylight and the longest day is March 31, with 12 hours, 40 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight in March
The earliest sunrise of the month in Chicago is 6:10 AM on March 10 and the latest sunrise is 58 minutes later at 7:09 AM on March 11.
The earliest sunset is 5:40 PM on March 1 and the latest sunset is 1 hour, 34 minutes later at 7:15 PM on March 31.
Daylight saving time (DST) starts at 3:00 AM on March 11, 2018, shifting sunrise and sunset to be an hour later.
For reference, on June 21, the longest day of the year, the Sun rises at 5:15 AM and sets 15 hours, 14 minutes later, at 8:29 PM, while on December 21, the shortest day of the year, it rises at 7:14 AM and sets 9 hours, 8 minutes later, at 4:22 PM.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in March
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The chance that a given day will be muggy in Chicago is essentially constant during March, remaining around 0% throughout.
For reference, on July 27, the muggiest day of the year, there are muggy conditions 50% of the time, while on January 1, the least muggy day of the year, there are muggy conditions 0% of the time.
Humidity Comfort Levels in March
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in Chicago is essentially constant during March, remaining within 0.2 miles per hour of 13.2 miles per hour throughout.
For reference, on January 4, the windiest day of the year, the daily average wind speed is 14.4 miles per hour, while on August 3, the calmest day of the year, the daily average wind speed is 8.5 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed in March
Wind Direction in March
Chicago is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.
The average surface water temperature in Chicago is gradually increasing during March, rising by 2°F, from 35°F to 37°F, over the course of the month.
The lowest average surface water temperature during March is 35°F on March 1.
Average Water Temperature in March
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
The growing season in Chicago typically lasts for 7.2 months (222 days), from around April 2 to around November 10, rarely starting before March 15 or after April 19, and rarely ending before October 23 or after November 30.
The month of March in Chicago is more likely than not fully outside of the growing season, with the chance that a given day is in the growing season rapidly increasing from 1% to 45% over the course of the month.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in March
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
The average accumulated growing degree days in Chicago are essentially constant during March, remaining within 15°F of 21°F throughout.
Growing Degree Days in March
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy in Chicago is increasing during March, rising by 1.2 kWh, from 3.4 kWh to 4.6 kWh, over the course of the month.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in March
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Chicago are 41.850 deg latitude, -87.650 deg longitude, and 594 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Chicago is essentially flat, with a maximum elevation change of 69 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 591 feet. Within 10 miles is essentially flat (253 feet). Within 50 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (653 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Chicago is covered by artificial surfaces (100%), within 10 miles by artificial surfaces (66%) and water (34%), and within 50 miles by water (36%) and artificial surfaces (29%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Chicago year round, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 4 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Chicago.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Chicago according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at Chicago is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Chicago and a given station.
The stations contributing to this reconstruction are: Chicago / Meigs (72%, 4.6 kilometers, northeast); Chicago Midway International Airport (19%, 11 kilometers, southwest); Chicago O'Hare International Airport (4.6%, 29 kilometers, northwest); and Naval Air Station Glenview (historical) (4.3%, 30 kilometers, northwest).
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.