March in Like a Blustery Lion
"The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As he passes by.
When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
Then spring is here."
- Author Unknown
Kathy Stevens writes about how she would love to hear more about weather folklore in our area. So let’s start with tonight’s blog as we “leap” into March, the month immortalized by the famous poem above.
Leap day featured a record rainfall in Huntington! Sounds like a flood but fact is with only .12” of rain falling, this once every 4th year February 29th was actually a drop in the bucket!
My mom always hawked that March was the most fickle of all months; namely, warm and fuzzy one day, then cold and snowy the next. Turns out mother knew best in this regard as I consider March the most difficult month to forecast the weather.
The forces at work this month include hot, tropical air which bathes spring training baseball diamonds from Sarasota and Bradenton where the Reds and Pirates are frolicking these days, to Tucson in the Arizona desert where Ashland’s Cy Young pride and joy Brandon Webb throws his split fingered fastball.
Day time highs near 90 are not uncommon for these Florida and Arizona venues.
It is no wonder that MTV devotes its full attention to spring break meccas like Panama City, South Padre and Palm Springs this month where soothing tropical breezes fan the landscape! There college students from across the USA doff their parkas and scarves in favor of Bermudas and halters. It’s a rite of passage for most college students to play hard in the warmth of a southern climate.
Now at the same time, the air up north can remain cruelly cold and biting into April. Take last year when the Easter Bunny needed galoshes and a heavy coat during our Easter Freeze. Cleveland Indian fans will recall for years how an entire 4 game serieswas snowed out.
Just Thursday, our temperature failed to get much above 32 degrees and in Ontario Canada, just a few hundred miles north as the crow flies, highs were near 10 degrees.
This huge temperature difference from north to south across North America is squished together like no other month in March. And that so called temperature variation helps breed big storms. Do you recall the Great Blizzard of 1993? One of the greatest of the 20th century, deep snows buried the region from Birmingham and Atlanta thru our region into New England.
The fact that the weather across the USA can vary so widely day to day and region to region assures us of plenty of winds in March. It also spells big storms. So by chance if March 1st is warm and cuddly like a new born lamb, it will turn cold and snowy like a hungry lion by month’s end.
As for this weekend, INSTEAD it’s a grey and blustery start to March, more like a frisky than an angry lion. Then in a matter of hours, Sunday will turn the trick as our first glimpse at the friendly lamb appears with warming sunshine and a spring high near 60.
But buyer beware, this is March and the weather can steal your breathe away with a moment’s notice! That’s a hint at a very stormy pattern to come, and one that could still muster a big snowstorm. We shall see.