Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wither spring

The Equinox is less than 24 hours away; no telling when spring will follow.

Wither spring


On the eve of spring’s astronomical arrival, due at 12:57 p.m. EDT tomorrow, the Climate Prediction Center just poured a fresh batch of dark-blue ink across the East in its 6- to 10-day outlook.

That would suggest that March is about to become the third consecutive month of below-normal temperatures in Philadelphia.

And while we are not Rorschach specialists, we interpret all that blue to mean a spring deferred. The “s” word even pops up for next week, but it isn’t “spring.”

After a few days of somewhat normal temperatures, a cooling trend begins anew Sunday, and temperatures on Monday might struggle to hit 40 – that’s about 15 degrees below normal.

In addition, snow rumors are in the air again, and they might have some basis.

In his afternoon forecast discussion, Mike Gorse, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, mentioned “the potential” for a storm to track off the Midatlantic Coast, perhaps on Tuesday.

Loyal readers will know what’s coming next: The threat is several days, and scores of computer runs, away.

What we’ll call “post-season snows”  are fairly common. In the 130-year period of record, by our count measurable snow has fallen on March 20 or later in 67 of those years -- more than half -- most recently, on March 25 last year, 1.1 inches.

Usually, it’s not much, but several exceptions are worth noting: The 9.6 inches on March 20, 1958, the peak day of the Equinox Storm, one of PECO’s all-time power outage days; the 6.8 inches of April 1-2, 1924, and, the April all-timer, 19.5 inches on the 3rd and 4th in 1915.

On the semi-bright side, buried beneath all that blue on this afternoon’s climate center map is a spring deferred. Sooner or later, the atmosphere is going to turn its back on winter.

It’s just looking like later.

Inquirer Weather Columnist
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About this blog

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.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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