Early Spring Outlook

Posted March 5th, 2014 by Bill Kardas. 48 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.

Ice jams...

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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  1. Gordon (Northwestern):

    I had .9” of snow overnight. Also had .3” of snow yesterday. My temperature has been stuck at 14 degrees since midnight.

    Posted March 5th at 8:30 AM

  2. Rob (Whitesboro):

    Holy cow what a run on the 12Z Euro! It has 36-50” of snow from Utica to Buffalo on Day 8!

    Posted March 5th at 2:05 PM

  3. Mel (Rome):

    Pretty good squall now here in Rome.

    Posted March 5th at 2:11 PM

  4. Rob (Whitesboro):

    Yep it’s just hitting here. 1/2 mile visability with big flakes.

    Posted March 5th at 2:34 PM

  5. Rob (Whitesboro):

    Very heavy snow right now. Almost got an inch already

    Posted March 5th at 2:48 PM

  6. CJ (Little Falls):

    Rob-at this point, I’ll believe it when I see it! I wouldn’t mind seeing one more good snow storm :-). I hope it pans out

    Posted March 5th at 3:09 PM

  7. Louis (Barneveld):

    Yeah, that would be sweet! I got only got about 0.4” from the squall. I got 0.2” last night as well.

    Posted March 5th at 3:24 PM

  8. Rob (Whitesboro):

    Well that was fun. Picked up 1.7” in an hour here. Just flurries now.

    Posted March 5th at 3:30 PM

  9. MG (Point Rock):

    I was surprised to get home from work and find 2.1” since this morning. There was nothing in Boonville.

    Posted March 5th at 4:20 PM

  10. Neil (South Utica - Genesee St.):

    0.6” here.

    Posted March 5th at 4:36 PM

  11. Gordon (Northwestern):

    This wind is going to have to calm down before the temperature will free fell. I usually never feel much wind at my place because I am well protected, but I just went out to get the newspaper, and I couldn’t believe how strong the wind was. Had to be at least 20 MPH. About as strong as I have had this a Winter. Temp now at 14.

    Posted March 5th at 7:57 PM

  12. Louis (Barneveld):

    All ready down to 11°F here. We’ll have to watch the 00z Euro to see what it says about Day 8. Fun stuff!

    Posted March 5th at 7:58 PM

  13. Louis (Barneveld):

    Down to 9°F now.

    Posted March 5th at 9:30 PM

  14. Rob (Whitesboro):

    Already down to -10 here. Louis the Euro was weaker and more progressive. Still a significant storm though for us.

    Posted March 6th at 3:34 AM

  15. Tom (Richfield Springs):

    -8 degrees, calm, clear, only a trace of new snow, I’m hoping that this is the last sub-zero morning for this winter!

    Posted March 6th at 5:00 AM

  16. Bill Kardas (WKTV):

    Down to -8° in Rome. The record is -11° in 1948. Sunrise is in 75 min…so a record is still possible.

    For those new to the concept of weather forecasting, anything beyond 5 days in weather forecasting isn’t very reliable. Pointing out storms on computer models in this time frame was called “wishcasting” in college :)

    Posted March 6th at 5:30 AM

  17. Denys (East Winfield):

    -10 degrees, clear and calm.

    Posted March 6th at 5:48 AM

  18. Louis (Barneveld):

    -12°F here now under clear skies. Well, we can only hope that the Euro pans out then.

    Posted March 6th at 6:04 AM

  19. Louis (Barneveld):

    The GFS is showing another cold spell (probably not as bad as the other ones) after our little warm-up that goes until the middle of next week.

    Posted March 6th at 6:13 AM

  20. MEK (Morris):

    I see the GFS is showing moderate snow on day 335….....until then maybe the temperatures will start to become more seasonal.

    Posted March 6th at 6:23 AM

  21. Neil (South Utica - Genesee St.):

    Low of -5* here.

    Posted March 6th at 7:22 AM

  22. Rob (Whitesboro):

    Looks like we broke the record officially. Low was -14 here.

    Posted March 6th at 7:23 AM

  23. Louis (Barneveld):

    Had a low of -13°F around 6:50AM.

    Posted March 6th at 7:36 AM

  24. Bill Kardas (WKTV):

    Officially -12 between 6-7am at Griffiss.

    Posted March 6th at 8:07 AM

  25. MG (Point Rock):

    -14 here

    Posted March 6th at 8:07 AM

  26. Gordon (Northwestern):

    Only had a low of -4 here. Not bad considering Rome was -12, and Rochester set their all time March Low of -9.

    Posted March 6th at 8:15 AM

  27. Bill Kardas (WKTV):

    The all time coldest March morning was -27° in Utica on March 4th,1950.

    Posted March 6th at 8:28 AM

  28. Jeff H (Sherburne Hills):

    -11 here…..this has been the coldest winter I can remember. We have had 28 days below zero, with 13 of them being double digit negatives. Crazy winter, I pray it turns into a warm dry summer!

    Posted March 6th at 8:30 AM

  29. Bill Kardas (WKTV):

    When we look at the data, two winters since 2000 beat this one in terms of average temperature: 2002-2003 and 2003-2004.

    Posted March 6th at 10:25 AM

  30. MG (Point Rock):

    That agrees with my records, too…...coldest winter since 03-04.

    Posted March 6th at 12:43 PM

  31. weatherjan-Oneida (Oneida):

    This has also been the coldest winter for Syracuse since 2003/4. The winter of 2002/3 was a tad warmer than this winter.

    Posted March 6th at 4:41 PM

  32. Rob (Whitesboro):

    I think we’ll be going below zero again tonight. Dew is -10 here and at Rome. Looking at satellite and I’m noticing a big chunk (maybe 25%) of Lake Ontario is frozen. That’s pretty rare.

    Posted March 6th at 5:01 PM

  33. Louis (Barneveld):

    What does today’s 12z Euro run say about our possible storm next week. (Yes, I know I’m “wishcasting”, but hey, why not, everything until then is a snoozer!)

    High temp was 23°F. 20°F now with sunny skies and no wind. If we can get below 0°F tonight, this will be my 30th night below 0°F this winter!!! Crazy (but I like it).

    Posted March 6th at 5:12 PM

  34. Justin (Rome):

    Louis- 12Z Euro looks great again! Huge storm!! 18Z GFS finally picking it up that looks good as well! Still alot of time yet anything can change

    Posted March 6th at 5:21 PM

  35. Louis (Barneveld):

    Thanks, I did see the GFS, it still doesn’t hit us directly, but it’s trending in a good direction!

    Posted March 6th at 5:55 PM

  36. Louis (Barneveld):

    Oh, I was looking at the 12z runs, 18z runs do hit us pretty good!

    Posted March 6th at 6:13 PM

  37. Justin (Rome):

    Now lets hope they do not trend to what the Canadian is showing, that would be a bummer!

    Posted March 6th at 6:25 PM

  38. Rob (Whitesboro):

    If the Euro has it again tonight then I will be getting excited…that would be the 5th consecutive run of significant snow for here. 12Z run had 12-18”. Just a little nervous with that high to our north….but it’s not as strong as the last one.

    Posted March 6th at 6:30 PM

  39. Louis (Barneveld):

    Yeah, the 00z Euro run will have to be watched closely to see if we have some consistency on the Euro for that storm. All ready down to 12°F here!

    Posted March 6th at 7:47 PM

  40. Tom (Richfield Springs):

    -6 clear, calm, lots of stars.

    Posted March 7th at 5:14 AM

  41. Rob (Whitesboro):

    Low here was only 9. The east wind kept me warmer. Can’t say that too often. Another big hit on the Euro last night. Definitely no model agreement though.

    Posted March 7th at 7:04 AM

  42. Neil (South Utica - Genesee St.):

    Low of 3* here….maybe 40* today????

    Posted March 7th at 7:13 AM

  43. Louis (Barneveld):

    Low was -1°F, no wind up here. My 30th night below 0°F this winter! Whoo Hoo!

    Yeah, Euro has been pretty consistent with this storm so far, but still no agreement with other models, might be a few days before these models come into some sort of agreement.

    Posted March 7th at 7:14 AM

  44. Rob (Whitesboro):

    For the first 6 days of March we’re running 15 degrees below normal. That’s quite the stat!

    Posted March 7th at 7:16 AM

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