Spring has sprung, making an official debut just before 6:30 a.m. Monday.
While I know many of you are excited spring has finally arrived, I am also sure many of you realize spring in Ohio doesn’t necessarily mean we are done with winter weather. In fact, take a look at some stats from the last six weeks: February in the Miami Valley was tied for the warmest on record with temperatures averaging 10.7 degrees above normal for the entire month. But there has been a bit of a change for the first 20 days of March where temperatures are currently averaging nearly three degrees below normal. That is quite a swing.
But now some good news, depending on your perspective I guess, was just released from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The CPC released their outlook for spring for the country late last week and it appears a big change is expected for the season. Temperatures are forecast to swing back to above normal levels for the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, at least as an average of the spring months. The average high temperature for today’s date in the Miami Valley is 52 degrees. The average high by the end of April will climb to 67 degrees. However, the CPC outlook would mean most days would likely be above the average high.
Despite the relatively warm winter, we’ve had our fair share of wet weather throughout the season. Precipitation amounts over the winter were near to slightly below normal. However, much of the precipitation we’ve had throughout the winter has fallen in the form of rain. In fact, preliminary numbers show that Dayton has only had 4½ inches of snow since the first day of winter, Dec. 21. However, around 4 inches of snow fell in Dayton in the days leading up to winter. But when looking at only the winter days, the winter of 2016-2017 will go down as the least snowiest on record. The old record was 5½ inches in 1983.
The precipitation outlook for spring has no strong signals on whether we can expect above or below average precipitation amounts, as there are equal chances of both. It is important to note that in years past, when coming out of a warmer than average winter, there tended to be an increase in strong to severe storms across the region by late winter and into the spring. There are already signs that a similar pattern may be evolving. However, the pattern that evolves later in the spring and into the summer will also likely depend on whether El Nino, a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific that influences weather patterns, can develop. Right now, it is still too early to know if or how exactly El Nino will impact our region later this year.
Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.