Early Spring Outlook
Posted March 5th, 2014 by Bill Kardas. 51 comments
We made it to March - one of the craziest months of weather in this part of the country. We've seen it all this time of year - from epic snowstorms, sub zero cold, to thunderstorms and temperatures in the 80s! Anything goes in March, but what will THIS March look like?
Cold, cold, cold...
The first half of March looks cold. Shocking right? A large scale trough will remain locked in Central New York. This is a poor pattern for nor'easters, as the storm track suppresses coastal storms to the south. We still can get snow in this pattern, but we rely on cold fronts and clippers - which do not perform well now that the majority of the Great Lakes are frozen over. As of this morning, we are running a 7" snow deficit on the year for Utica...and with only 15" to go to get to normal, it's going to take a last minute freak snowstorm just to catch up to average.
The cold winter has created a thick layer of ice on area bodies of water. The absence of average weather in early March is going to cause big problems later in the month. Here's the reasoning...
This time of year, temperatures average just a few degrees above freezing. In an average March, this is supposed to allow for a gradual thaw. The problem this year is there's no gradual thaw taking place NOW. Average temperatures continue to climb through the month as the sun angle gets higher and higher. Inevitably, the weather pattern will break (it can't remain below average forever). The longer it takes for the pattern to break, the greater the chances that we see a dramatic swing in temperature. If the pattern swings back to NORMAL for late March, temperatures will climb into the 40s and low 50s on a regular basis. This would create a massive thaw and widespread ice jams. Depending on the specific weather pattern, it could be the worst ice jam scenario we've seen in several years.
Our best hope is for the weather to gradually warm up...the sooner the better.
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