Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Neverending Story of Winter, Where is Spring?

The chill in the air is rather brisk and a light dusting of snow covered the ground this morning....Winter's grip is still holding tight despite being the end of March.....but isn't this what March used to be like?

We've gotten so used to an early Spring that now when an "average" Winter/Spring comes along, it stings a little. :) Last March we were basking in record warmth with multiple 80+ degree days and farmers were planting earlier than ever hoping for a bumper crop. This March, a weak La Nina weather pattern along with a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation signal has kept up much colder than the average. The Arctic Oscillation (AO) means this:
  • The negative phase allows cold air to plunge into the Midwestern United States
  • The positive phase brings the opposite conditions, steering ocean storms farther north and bringing wetter weather to Alaska
    Courtesy: Climate Prediction Center - March 26, 2013

The climate models project the above forecast and show a relatively negative AO signal thus bringing us a higher likelihood of below average temps through the start of April. Lost yet? Let's just say there is a lot going on in the global environment contributing to our abnormally colder March.

As of today (March 26, 2013) we stand in the top 5 coldest for the month of March. Temps to date average 6.6 below average which gives us an overall monthly average temp of 40.8 degrees. It HAS been much colder before. The epic cold spell of March 1960 will be hard to ever meet. We averaged a monthly temp of 32.9 degrees and recorded 24 inches of snow in Paducah that year. We HAVE had our share of  March "notables" for 2013. To date, we have recorded *9* days with snow of a Trace or more and smashed a record low (ironically from 1960) when we dropped to 19 degrees on the 21st.

Here is some perspective..... our average high temperature for the 26th of March is 63 degrees. We have not hit 60 degrees for 10 days now.
The one saving grace for those looking for some warmth?....our sun angle is getting higher and higher as we progress through the Spring season so we will inevitably warm due to that simple fact and Winter will not last forever! :)

Stats as of March 26, 2013 - Jennifer Rukavina / NWS Paducah
To wrap it all up, here is a great video short from the Cliamte Prediction Center showcasing the wilds of Spring 2013 and the outlook ahead.

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