Stormy Month Ahead for Much of the Nation
(State College, PA - March 1, 2007) - AccuWeather.com Chief Long Range Meteorologist Joe Bastardi warns that the recent stormy pattern will persist into March, with effects being felt across much of the U.S.
Bastardi forecasts that a major storm heading toward the Great Lakes will produce a blizzard across portions of the northern Plains to mark the arrival of March, with severe weather through parts of the South. Storms will again crash into the Pacific Northwest, returning to a pattern seen early in the winter. These storms, as they head out onto the Plains, will produce more than the usual amount of high winds, hail, and tornadoes for March.
While the month will start colder than normal, first in the Plains and then into the East, this opening blast of cold weather will soon be reversed. "Warm air has been surging into Texas, and it is poised to charge northward when it finally gets the chance," Bastardi said. "This warmth will have a major opportunity to make itself felt during the second full week of March."
Despite the likelihood of a noticeable warm-up in the eastern half of the nation as mid-March approaches, one more brutally cold air mass will develop across Canada. During the most recent cold-ending El Niño winter in 2003, there was a short, early spring blast of colder air that followed the initial warming trend. Said Bastardi, "The weather may have one more trick up its sleeve. Later in the month, one of the storms crossing the nation may drag the cold air that is building across Canada back into the U.S. This will cause residents in the East and Midwest, who had been experiencing gradually warmer temperatures, to return to shivering for a short period."
The dramatic reversal forecast for March is not uncommon in spring, but much of the nation also experienced a dramatic temperature turnaround this past winter as well. In the AccuWeather.com preseason winter forecast, Bastardi and his team called for a warm start to the season, followed by a multi-week blast of cold air that would be as far below normal as the start of the winter was above normal. "As we warned at the beginning of the year, this February may end up being one of the five coldest Februarys in the past 50 years," said Bastardi. The weakening El Niño identified by Bastardi and his team was one of the core points of this forecast. "In fact, three of the four coldest Februarys in the past half a century occurred in winters identified as weakening El Niño winters," said Ken Reeves, Director of Forecasting Operations for AccuWeather.com.
The turnaround was striking. The first 45 days of winter were nearly nine degrees above normal in both Chicago and New York City. However, since that point, Chicago has been more than six degrees below normal and New York City nearly five degrees below normal. Chicago went from an average temperature of 34.4 degrees to start the winter to 18.4 degrees for the last 45 days. Said Reeves, "What makes this 15-degree swing so remarkable was it took place without a deep snow cover. With snow cover, it would have been even more dramatic. And dramatic weather is what we'll continue to see in March, since this pattern of major turnarounds will continue."
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