Monday, August 3, 2015

Spring outlook: More winter

Forecasters: Remainder of March to be chilly, wet, and possibly white.

Spring outlook: More winter


Already this has been the snowiest March in Philadelphia since 2009, when 9 inches landed at the official measuring station the first two days of the month.

Granted, the 0.2 inches of last week was hardly a paralyzer -- more fell to the northeast - but the atmosphere pitched a late-winter snow shutout the previous three years with no measureable snow after March 1.

Odds favor more snow before the month is over, according to Accu-Weather meteorologist Jack Boston, as a chill settles over the Northeast and storm traffic becomes brisk.

The private forecasting company released its spring outlook this morning, and it throws more cold water on any hopes of a balmy start to the season that beings officially a week from today.

Computer models are showing a strong and persistent "blocking" pattern that favors cold in the Northeast is taking hold in the North Atlantic.

"We’re probably going to be susceptible to cold air at least untilt the end of March," said Boston. With a succession of storms, the odds would favor some snowfall from at least one of them, he added.

The Commodity Weather Group, in Washington, in its morning update also foresaw blocking and  below-normal temperatures for the rest of the month.

We are wary of any long-term outlooks, but we'll note that Boston is saying that the pattern may relent the first half of April but that the second half of the month could see more wintry intrusions.

Incidentally, today marks the 20th anniversary of the great Blizzard of 1993, which battered the East from Floriday to New England. We'll elaborate on that shortly.

A foot of snow fell in Philadelphia followed by a prolonged period of ice and a hard freeze that cemented the region in what one meteorologist called an "Arctic landscape."

That storm was unique, and for those who would be perfectly happy never to see snow again, we'll mention that late-winter snow shutouts aren't all that unusual.

No measureable snow was recorded after March 1 for four consecutive winters in Philadelphia, starting in 1985.

The sun has turned up the wattage, as you probably noticed, and it's about to turn it up even higher.





Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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