Saturday, November 28, 2015

March, without madness

Once again, winter's revenge deferred.

March, without madness


We mentioned in an earlier post that given the benignity of the winter, at some point one would expect nature to extract a price around here.

But the warmth just goes on and on in the outlooks, as shoes continue to not drop.

We thought it might be unusual to have such a mild March after such a mild winter, and, as usual, data turn out to be the great enemy of perception.

Looking at the 25 warmest meteorological winters on record, that's the December through February period, the majority of the subsequent Marches finished with above-normal temperatures.

The long-term average for Philadelphia in March is 41.4 degrees. Of the Marches after the aforementioned warm winters, 16 finished above average and 9 below.

Breaking this down further, only three of those Marches had temperatures more than 1 degree below the long-term average.

Not that we don't find a couple examples of notable contrarianism.

In the period of record, a big March flipper showd up in 1932, where the 39.5 degrees for March was almost 4 degrees colder than the 43.3 of the meteorological winter.

Other standouts were 1890, 38.9 in March, compared with 42.2 for the winter; 1973, 38.7 versus 39, and 1950, 38.6, compared with 38.7

The biggest change in the other direction occurred in 1977. After the coldest winter on record with an average temperature of 28, March became the fifth-warmest ever in Philadelphia with an average of 48.8.


Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

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