The start of spring is still almost a month away, although you wouldn't know it from the weather most of the eastern U.S. has been experiencing this week. Many locales east of the Mississippi River have been smashing record highs for most of the week, and we've been in the 70s consistently here on the northern Cumberland Plateau. But we will soon be reminded by Mother Nature that spring is not here to stay, at least not just yet.
We'll be in the 70s again today and probably tomorrow, then things begin to cool off ever so slightly, but we should still see high temperatures top out in the 60s for most of next week as a stormy and wet weather pattern continues.
Then things begin to change as the calendar flips to March.
It looks like we're going to have a negative North Atlantic Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation combo for at least the first half of March. The NAO has been positive all winter, while the AO has been more positive than negative and maybe about to dip further into negative territory than it has at any point this season. That -NAO/AO combination typically means colder air is possible -- perhaps likely -- for our part of the world.
For now, it's too soon to know exactly how that's going to play out for us here in the Mid-South, except that our run of 60-70 degree weather may be coming to a halt. You might remember that I said a couple of weeks ago, on this blog, that the worst of winter was over. I still believe that to be true. Cold outbreaks in March are usually more of an inconvenience than anything else. That doesn't mean we can't see winter weather in March (this is the 25th anniversary of the Blizzard of '93, after all). Just that it becomes much less likely.
For now, the first 8-9 days of March look much colder than what we've been seeing the past couple of weeks, with hard freezes at night and daytime highs holding in the 30s and 40s. If there is a period where some wintry mischief is possible, it might be in the March 5-7 time frame. There are storm signals during that period and plenty of cold air lurking nearby.
After that, it's basically anyone's guess where the weather goes. The NAO and AO look to relax, but there are no real signs of a sustained warm-up. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting equal chances of above-average or below-average temperatures for the month in our area, with the coldest air in the Northwest and the warmest conditions (relative to normal) relegated to the extreme southern coastal areas and the New England states.
With any luck, we'll have a cold start to March and then spring will settle in for good. But that remains to be seen.
Eye to the Sky is a weather blog by Independent Herald editor Ben Garrett. Garrett is a weather enthusiast who has long blogged about interesting weather on his personal website. He is not a professional forecaster or a meteorologist and information on this blog should not be considered a substitute for forecasts, advisories or other products from the National Weather Service.