Taking a local look at winter so far; Our local outlook for March and Spring

High pressure will provide us with calm weather through the weekend so I took some time to take a look at some of the long-range outlooks for our area. Since we’re getting close to the end of meteorological winter, I wanted to take a quick peek at where we stand this winter and how this year stacks up to past winters here in the Valley.

First off, it should come as no surprise to anyone that this has been a mild winter. Temperatures have been warmer than average for every month – including February, so far. There are nine days left yet this month and while we will likely see another shot of cold next week, we’ll also see warmer than average temperatures over the weekend and at least through the first couple of days next week. Temperatures will turn colder to end the month but I don’t see it having much of an impact on the warmer-than-average temperature trend we’ve seen all season.

Comparatively, if winter were to end today it would come in as number-two topped only by 2016 – 2017 which was a half-degree warmer.

Generally, most folks aren’t all that fond of winter and many of us are anxious to do away with coats, gloves, and hats whenever we venture outside. And even though we have not had any disruptive snowstorms yet, most of us would be happy not to have to deal with snow. I think it’s safe to say the majority of those living and working in the Valley are okay with not dealing with any more snow than we’ve already had.

So, how does March look? NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center published their seasonal updates yesterday and for the most part, this is a good place to get a feel for what may be headed our way.

Temperatures for east-central Ohio may be closer to or slightly cooler than average next month. The medium-range modeling suggests that we can expect at least one more brief cold period to end February and into the first days of March. Personally, given the fact that temperatures have been running warmer than average by several degrees all winter, odds favor that March will be closer to normal.

What do I mean by average temperatures? The average temperature for March in the Valley is 40°. The climate average is based on an average high of 51° and an average low of 29°. (These are climate averages. There are individual days of higher and lower temperatures, of course.)

As for precipitation, the CPC leans a bit toward the drier side. Locally, we normally expect to see a little over 3-inches of rain during the month of March. This includes the liquid equivalent of any snow.

We also begin to rapidly pick up additional daylight during March with the addition of just over an hour and a quarter added to our length of daytime. We also return to daylight Saving Time where we change clocks AHEAD one hour. The sun angle at local solar noon also increases noticeably during the month. Spring is definitely on the way.

Not surprisingly, the spring temperature outlook favors a familiar pattern. We’ve seen this warmer-than-average spring temperature pattern for many years recently. The majority of feedback I hear from weather folks who are much smarter than I agree that this pattern is likely to continue into this year as well.

The CPC also indicates that odds favor a wetter-than-average spring. Since we do have a river and the associated low-lying areas bordering the river, the prospects of an increase of rain make for a lot of nervous people. While it is not possible to forecast individual strong thunderstorms that might bring heavy rainfall on a seasonal scale, the overall pattern can lean toward a period of more active weather capable of producing rain.

Normally, precipitation in the Valley through all of the spring season amounts to just over 10.5-inches (March = 3.04″; April = 3.43″; May = 4.17″)

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