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Bolaris: Beware the Ides of March

NOAA´s 6-10 day precipitation outlook predicts a 50-60 percent probability for above-normal precipitation. (NOAA)
NOAA's 6-10 day precipitation outlook predicts a 50-60 percent probability for above-normal precipitation. (NOAA)
NOAA´s 6-10 day precipitation outlook predicts a 50-60 percent probability for above-normal precipitation. (NOAA) Gallery: Cold, hard facts: Philly's wild winter records

Somehow the assassination of Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 B.C. (prophecy warned him of a possible assassination by that date) evolved into weather prophecy which warns us now of the true uncertainties - meteorologically speaking - between March 12-15.

The infamous blizzard on March 12, 1888, which shut down the entire Northeast for more than a week, most likely helped to precipitate "Beware of the ides of March."

Right now, computer models are suggesting that some type of a storm accompanied by snow, sleet and rain will spread through the Ohio Valley, with a secondary storm taking shape somewhere along the Mid-Atlantic coast. The time frame for this potential winter storm would fall right around March 12-13.

"Hail Caesar!"

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  • It's still quite early in determining whether this will be a juicy meat-and-potatoes type of storm or just, shall we say, a tossed Caesar salad.

    Now I do have some good news: the Pacific North Atlantic teleconnection pattern (PNA), which has been in the positive mode for most of this winter and has established a warm West Coast and a very cold and stormy eastern half of the nation, is soon to go negative. This will help to break down the tremendous ridge in the west (mountain of high pressure) which has been the atmospheric catalyst leading to constant cold and higher than normal storm frequency here in the East.

    The deep Eastern trough which funnels in the cold and stormy conditions will relax and allow for a significant shift to a more gentle weather cycle and much milder temperatures. This should lock up the core of polar air north of the border.

    The PNA looks to go negative around St Patrick's Day, the 17th, with more consistent periods of milder temperatures to follow and the polar vortex on the retreat. Right now, late March is looking much more tame and hopefully will go out like a lamb.

    In the meantime, your Friday will feature increasing clouds with late-in-the-day rain likely across southeast New Jersey and rain for central and southern Delaware.

    The city itself could see some passing showers with the bulk of any rain south and east of the Delaware River.

    Saturday looks great - dry with temperatures rising into the 50s, before the next cold front cools us back down into the lower 40s on Sunday. 

    John Bolaris

    John Bolaris For Philly.com
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