(Editor’s note: We’ll believe it when we feel it, but here’s a release from some smart people out in Ithaca who claim that winter will actually end.)
Samantha Borisoff, climatologist with the NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University, discusses the weather pattern that brought the Northeast a frosty March – and how it will give way to warmth in about 10 days.
“Does this March feel a little cooler than normal? It’s not your imagination. When looking at data from March 1 to 24 in 35 Northeast cities, temperatures were below average at 32 of those sites. The coolest spot was Beckley, W. Va., at 6 degrees below normal. Though it has been on the cool side, many stations were within 2 degrees of normal. That’s a big contrast to last year when temperatures were 8 to 16 degrees above normal!
“As for snowfall, 24 of the 35 cities were snowier than normal. Multiple storms brought snow to places such as Worcester, Mass., which has accumulated an extra 21.3 inches of snow this month. Other areas, like Buffalo, N.Y., have missed out. The city is 2.6 inches below its usual snow total.
“So what’s going on? An area of low pressure lies over the north Atlantic while an area of high pressure resides a few thousand miles to the south. The interaction between these pressure systems affects our winter weather. Last March the two systems were strong, or in a positive phase, which allowed for record-setting warmth and little snow. This March the two systems are relatively weak, or in a negative phase, the opposite of last year. In this scenario, the jet stream dips south bringing cold air into the eastern U.S. and the East Coast sees more frequent storms.
“A change in the pattern is coming – eventually. A continuation of cool temperatures is predicted for much of the East for the next 10 days, but the outlook for April is for warmer weather.”