Share this article:
The month of March often offers widely varying temperatures across the United States. One day, it might be record-breaking warmth; the next, a storm or blizzard strikes. Meteorologists consider this fluctuation a part of meteorological spring, which begins March 1.
The spring season associated with the vernal equinox, called astronomical spring, happens on or around March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, but meteorologists recognize March 1 as the first day of meteorological spring, which is based on annual temperature cycles and the Gregorian calendar.
“Spring is a transition,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel. “As we come out of the cold winter toward the warm summer – it’s all based off the sun angle, which depends on the Earth’s orbit.”
Leap years and the elliptical shape of that orbit around the sun affect when the astronomical seasons, or summer/winter solstices and vernal/autumnal equinoxes, occur.
According to National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the meteorological seasons were created because traditional seasons varied in length from 89 to 93 days and it was difficult for experts to compare statistics from one year to another.
Meteorological spring is considered to be March, April and May. The other meteorological seasons consist of three consecutive months:
The month of March is associated with a variety of folklore, including the famous proverb, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” It’s one of many proverbs from years gone by that attempt to predict the weather.
Experts say the phrase has some validity when it comes to the possibility of roaring storms at the beginning of March.
“We start to see some warm weather in the southern United States, and it is typically still very cold in Canada and the northern U.S.,” Samuhel said. “Storms will feed off that big temperature difference and get pretty feisty, so that is why it is more common to have big storms during the beginning of March than at the end.”
5 essential safety steps to take before severe weather hits
5 hacks to keep outdoor allergy symptoms at bay this spring
2018 US spring forecast: Cold, snow to linger in Northeast; Severe storms to kick off early in South
And there’s a March legend of balancing raw eggs on their ends only on the first day of spring (the vernal equinox) because of the position of the Earth’s axis and a perceived change in gravity. But as tedious as it might be to prop a raw egg on a table and not have it fall – it’s a myth and can be done any day of the year.
“It is not true,” Samuhel said. “You can get lucky and balance an egg anytime. It doesn’t have anything to do with the equinox.”
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.
AccuWeather's founder and president denounces “inaccurate information” about Hurricane Florence's economic impacts, while the company predicts the total economical toll from Florence to be $50-60 billion.
Meteorologists of the National Weather Service office in Puerto Rico worked around the clock to keep the island informed during September of 2017, while they were disconnected and unsure whether their own families were safely weathering the storm.
The start of Oktoberfest 2018 is only days away and big changes in the weather are expected for the opening weekend of festivities.
Knowing if you live in an evacuation zone and being aware of evacuation routes ahead of time is critical in the event that a mandatory evacuation order is issued for your area.
El grupo de meteorólogos del Servicio Nacional de Meteorología de San Juan trabajó sin parar durante la emergencia del huracán María y fue parte importante del proceso de mantener informada a la ciudadanía.
The northeastern United States will be in the middle of an atmospheric battle zone into the end of September as waves of cool air begin to push out of Canada while tropical air fights back.
Iniciativas comunitarias buscan contrarrestar la disminución en los nidos del tinglar, vinculado a los efectos de erosión en las costas de la isla.
Local nonprofits seek to counteract the decrease of tinglar turtle nests, which is associated with the effects of erosion on the island's coasts.