If you’re still wanting more snow after the past couple of weeks, you’re probably among the few.
It’s been a rough two-week span for drivers, for utility workers, and for all of those who are anxiously awaiting spring. It’s been a snowy winter all the way around, beginning with a 3-inch snowfall on Dec. 1, three weeks before winter even officially began. But most of the snows were relatively minor, until Mother Nature threw back-to-back-to-back winter storms at us over a 10-day period.
The last of Wednesday night’s snow is still on the ground, with temperatures struggling to get to the freezing mark today. It’s very much still winter. But it looks like we’re going to see a reprieve from the wintry precipitation, which begs the question: Can we finally put winter to bed?
The easy answer is, “Probably not.” You never count winter out in this part of the world until March or even April. There are always late-season cold snaps and even threats for snow … occasionally even big snows (like 1993). But simply from a climatological standpoint, winter is on borrowed time.
A warming trend will begin tomorrow. We will be near 50 by Sunday and we might even push 60 degrees by Wednesday, ahead of the next major storm system. There will probably be some brief intrusions of cold air along the way, but for now the next two weeks look fairly mild. In fact, the GFS model is consistently showing temperatures in the 50s and even in the 60s for the week of Feb. 27-March 7.
The Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, is predicting above-average temperatures for the eastern half of the nation for both the 6-10 and 8-14 day periods. It also has above-average warmth across the nation’s southern tier of states, with cold air confined to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, for Weeks 3-4, which takes us into the middle of March.
And, we’re in the time of year when the rising sun angle is playing a bigger and bigger role in our weather … as evidenced by how quickly things cleared up yesterday even though temperatures didn’t get much above freezing and even though the clouds never broke up.
Our average temperature for tomorrow is 50 degrees. That’s six degrees warmer than the average temperature on Jan. 1. In another couple of weeks, the average temperature will be 55 degrees. And just 10 days after that, the average temperature will be 60. We’re entering the transitional season of spring, where the rise of temperatures and the lengthening of days accelerate.
Speaking of lengthening days, the sun will set 6:23 p.m. this evening. That’s almost an hour later than it set on Jan. 1. In another three weeks, it’ll be nearly a half-hour later than it is today. And then the time will change, and it’ll be nearly 8 p.m. before the sun sets.
Obviously we’ve not seen the last of cold weather. Since 2000, the average date of our last temperatures colder than 32 degrees has been April 29 — and never before April 4. So we have a ways to go. But as we enter the transitional period, where we can start to count down the days to spring, the fact that there’s no winter weather showing up on the horizon for the next 15 days is noteworthy.
But just how much we can celebrate the end of winter remains to be seen. There are a lot of signs that this spring will be very active in terms of severe weather. And then we’ll have something new to complain about.