Warm winter expected to lead into cool spring

THIS ROBIN, photographed in the snow on Osborn Avenue Friday, may be skeptical, but spring is here. Following a mild winter, which featured the warmest February on record, spring is expected to be on the cool side, forecasters say. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

THIS ROBIN, photographed in the snow on Osborn Avenue Friday, may be skeptical, but spring is here. Following a mild winter, which featured the warmest February on record, spring is expected to be on the cool side, forecasters say. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

By DENISE GRANT
STAFF WRITER

Spring arrived in the Northern Hemisphere at 6:28 a.m. today, even though the temperature outside might tell a different story.

The Findlay area experienced an unusually warm winter, but “We’re definitely off to a cool start and it’s going to stay pretty cool for the next few weeks,” said David Samuhel, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com, one of the Courier’s weather services.

Samuhel said a high pressure-system over eastern Canada will continue to drive the weather pattern well into April, funneling cold air, manufactured in the Arctic and Canada, into the United States.

It’s the same weather pattern that created the nor’easter that dumped heavy snow on the upper East Coast last week.

According to AccuWeather, cold air will maintain its grip across the northern part of the U.S., from coast to coast, for the next several weeks.

In fact, March is on track to be a much colder month than February, which can be brutally cold in the Midwest. Not so this winter, as an active storm track coming out of the Pacific pushed warmer-than-normal air across the country, and kept the Arctic air at bay, Samuhel said.

Dave Beach, superintendent of the Findlay Water Pollution Control Center, said February 2017, which had an average temperature of 40.2 degrees, is the warmest February on record in Findlay, beating the old mark of 38.7 degrees set in February 1930.

The center has maintained weather records for the City of Findlay since 1894.

Beach said five record high temperatures were set this winter, plus one tie:

  • Nov. 18 tied the record high for the date of 74 degrees set in 1896.
  • Dec. 26, a high of 64 degrees broke the record for the date of 56 degrees set in 1940 and 2015.
  • Jan. 11, a high of 60 degrees broke the record for the date of 58 degrees set in 2013.
  • Feb. 17, a high of 62 degrees broke the record for the date of 61 degrees set in 1927.
  • Feb. 18, a high of 69 degrees broke the record for the date of 63 degrees set in 1911.
  • Feb. 24, a high of 74 degrees broke the record of 68 degrees, set on the same date in 1921.

The 74 reading was the highest temperature ever recorded in Findlay in February. The old mark was 73 degrees, set on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 in 2000.

Average monthly temperatures were well above normal in November, January and February, according to the center’s records. December was the exception. The average monthly temperature for December was 28.9 degrees, slightly below the normal average of 29.8 degrees, Beach said.

In November, the average monthly temperature was 46 degrees, well above the normal average of 41 degrees.

In January, the average monthly temperature was 32.5 degrees, well above the normal average of 26.1 degrees.

The season started off on a warm note, too. The highest temperature of the season came on Nov. 1, with a high of 80 degrees in Findlay. The lowest temperature of the winter, minus 1, was recorded in Findlay on Jan. 7.

In January, Findlay had nine straight days, Jan. 16-25, with temperatures above the freezing mark of 32 degrees.

There were seven straight days above freezing in February: Feb. 18-24.

By the end of February, Findlay’s snowfall total was less than half the seasonal average of 26.4 inches. A total of 10 inches of snow was recorded by the center from October through February.

The lowest seasonal snowfall recorded in Findlay was just 3 inches, during the winter of 1918-1919.

As for the spring warmup, Samuhel said the high pressure system over eastern Canada is expected to wane come April. Once it dissipates, the remainder of the spring should be warmer than usual with plenty of rainfall, and an increased risk of severe weather.

“Air masses will be coming out of the western and southern U.S., so that’s going to be an opposite pattern than what we are seeing in March,” he said.

May is expected to be very warm with an active storm track.

Samuhel said it’s a good bet that the last frost date in May will allow farmers and gardeners to begin planting by at least mid-May.

“May is going to be a warm month. We think 2 to 3 degrees warmer than normal. By then, we are expecting an air flow out of the southern states and the Gulf. It could be pretty wet, too,” he said.

The National Weather Service is also predicting slightly above-normal temperatures this spring. The weather service says there’s an equal chance of precipitation being higher or lower than the norm.

Some prefer the weather wisdom of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, now celebrating its 225th year in publication. The Almanac predicts spring will be warmer than normal, with below-average rainfall. It says summer will be cool and wet.

Grant: 419-427-8412
Send an E-mail to Denise Grant
Twitter: @ByDeniseGrant



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