It was once looking — as recently as a week ago — like our weather pattern would flip to cold as the month of March began. But with March's arrival just another day away, any cold air that is in store for us appears to be fleeting.
The North Atlantic Oscillation has moved into negative territory and will continue to dip, and the Arctic Oscillation is set to absolutely plummet to its most negative state of the winter season. A -NAO/AO combo usually spells colder air in the eastern U.S., and it's certainly going to be colder in the days ahead than it has been in the days just past, but it doesn't look especially cold, and the NAO and AO are both poised to return to neutral territory as we move towards the middle of March.
Friday will be a raw day after all the rain moves out (and I wouldn't completely bet against some insignificant snow showers Thursday night). Then, after temperatures rebound into the 60s by early next week, a more sustained cool-down will begin by the middle part of next week. That may result in a few days with temps topping out only in the 40s and hard freezes at night.
But there's no apparent threat of significant wintry weather, and it looks like temps will begin to rebound as we move March 11-12 time frame, which lines up with the NAO/AO rebounding to neutral territory. In fact, the 18z run of the GFS forecast model even has temps popping into the 70s shortly thereafter. That will take us squarely into the middle of March.
The budding and blooming season is ahead of schedule, which does set up some concern that we could be headed for a damaging freeze as we get deeper into spring. Bradford pears are on the verge of blooming here on the northern plateau, which puts them a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. The looming cool-down will certainly slow that process down, but if we do rebound into the 70s for a sustained stretch in the middle of the month, that's going to jump-start the process again.
The bottom line? We're probably going to see temperatures that are below-normal for this time of year over the next 10-12 days, but we aren't going to be too cold. And spring may bounce back by the middle of the month. That's good news.
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.