Welcome Spring… with caution

Posted at 9:42 AM, Mar 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-21 06:18:48-04

Today at 12:57 PM we celebrate the Vernal Equinox. The March equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Typically when we change seasons or roll into a new month I like to take a look back at our weather stats. I think it’s best this time (and my guess is you agree) that we just look forward to the new season ahead.

After this winter season, most of us are looking forward to warmer temperatures and no snow ahead. One word of caution here… the Vernal Equinox is not a light switch. Even though we celebrate the start of spring, we change seasons gradually. Think of it more like a dimmer switch.

Let’s dig into some numbers… In Norfolk, our average high temperature at the start of spring is 59°. The average low is 42°. By the end of spring our average high is 85° and the low is 69°. Will we be warming up? Generally speaking, yes. Keep in mind, those are average temperatures. In order to get an average both higher and lower numbers will occur. Just take a look at the record temperatures to see what I’m hinting at here. The warmest spring temperature on record is 102°, the coldest is 20°.

So what about snow? Are we done? According to the record books… not necessarily. Have we seen late March and April snows in the past? Absolutely. The latest spring snowfall on record occurred on April 17th. That’s almost a month into the spring season! We’re not just talking dustings here either… The highest spring snowfall on record in Norfolk was 7.5” on March 25th, 1974. Need some good news? Based only on climate data, there is a 1% or less chance of snow each day in spring.

Bottom line… spring is a transition season between the cold of winter and the heat of summer, expect a taste of both over the next few months.

-Meteorologist Myles Henderson