The 1st day of spring doesn’t mean it's the last of the snow
By John Roach, AccuWeather staff writer
March 17, 2019, 7:18:54 PM EDT
March 20 is the first official day of spring and the start of warmer weather... in theory, at least.
Winter historically hasn’t stopped cold turkey on March 19, as several substantial snowstorms have hit cities across the United States on March 20 and the surrounding days.
Will it happen this year? A storm system that initially looked to possibly affect the Northeast now “looks like it will be a suppressed system and not turn up the coast,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, the Northeast will turn milder for the first day of spring.
That wasn’t the case last year for the mid-Atlantic states and New England. The March 20-22 nor’easter, nicknamed the "FourEaster" because it was the unprecedented fourth nor’easter in three weeks, covered cherry blossoms with snow in Virginia and dropped 8.4 inches of snow in New York City, 7.6 in Philadelphia and 4.1 in Washington, D.C.
More than 4,000 flights were canceled, 100,000 people lost power and a state of emergency was declared in New Jersey, Delaware and for parts of New York and federal and state offices across the region were closed as a result of the storm.
Colder air, gusty winds to feel like a 'slap in the face' in the Northeast this weekend
National Guard carries out highway rescues after monster winter storm unloads blizzard conditions, turns deadly
What's the difference between meteorological and astronomical spring?
Girl, 6, shocked by what she sees after a major snowstorm
Cattle being dug out after major snowstorm
In other years, South Dakota seems to be a particular target on March 20, as areas of the state received up to 18 inches of snow on that date in 2008 and up to 20 inches of snow in 1982.
But perhaps the two most memorable snowstorms around the first day of spring occurred in 1958 and 1956.
The 1958 storm on March 20-21 was the biggest spring snowstorm to occur after the spring equinox in New York City, according to records dating to 1869. The city received 11.8 inches of snow; Philadelphia got 11.4, and, amazingly, Morgantown, Pennsylvania, was walloped with 50 inches of snow.
The 1956 storm from March 18-20 brought snow to most of the mid-Atlantic states. In New York City, Philadelphia and Trenton and Atlantic City, New Jersey, snow fell for 31 to 35 straight hours with those cities receiving 12 to 13 inches overall.
It was one of the most severe and deadly snowstorms in southern New England history, as more than 160 people were killed and many towns were dealing with snowdrifts of up to 14 feet.
While the U.S. may be spared from a snowstorm on the first day of spring this year, it's wise to remember what Mark Twain said: "In the spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather within 24 hours."
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 3:21:07 PM EDT
A lunar rainbow, one of the rarest types of rainbows, appeared during the super worm moon earlier this week.
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 12:42:06 PM EDT
The colorful festival of Holi celebrated by the Hindu community marks the beginning of spring.
In case you missed it: Pence assures Midwest flood victims as damage tops $1 billion; 50,000 visitors overtake California town to see vibrant superbloom
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 11:39:12 AM EDT
Flooding in the Midwest has put entire towns underwater and forced thousands to abandon their homes while a cyclone in southern Africa became one of the worst natural disasters to hit the region in decades.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica to inundate Australia's Pilbara Coast with life-threatening flooding
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 1:17:16 PM EDT
Lives and property will be in severe peril later this weekend and early next week along the northwestern coastline of Western Australia as Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica slows down and unloads extreme rainfall.
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 2:42:11 PM EDT
A storm forecast to spread rain from the Mississippi Valley on Sunday to the Atlantic coast on Monday may end as a period of snow from parts of Ohio to parts of Massachusetts early next week.
Australia faces a dual severe tropical cyclone strike this weekend starting with Trevor in the Northern Territory
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 7:59:25 PM EDT
As Veronica threatens to cause a flood disaster in northwestern Australia, the dangers to lives and property are expected to expand well away from where Severe Tropical Cyclone Trevor makes a dangerous strike on Australia's Northern Territory early this weekend.
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 12:24:17 PM EDT
The winter of 2018-2019 will go down in the record books for being the wettest on record due to relentless rain and snow, so AccuWeather ranked the cities that were buried under the most snow this winter.
Cyclone Idai flood catastrophe: Estimates of more than 1,000 dead as 'inland ocean' forms in Mozambique
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 10:21:37 AM EDT
More than 1,000 people are feared dead in Mozambique and Zimbabwe as the flood catastrophe caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai continues to rage. Drier weather is expected to finally return later this weekend.