Is winter over?
With temperatures hitting the low 60s early Thursday and only several days left before the start of March, many local residents may find themselves asking whether the cold and snow are over.
We’re nearly in the clear, forecasters say.
“It looks like our window is shutting as far as our opportunity for getting snowstorms,” said Dave Samuhel, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com. “We’ve been on the warm side lately, and I think that trend is going to continue.”
There’s a chance that a storm next week could bring a final dose of winter weather, but it’s likely to only be a wintry mix or just rain, he said.
“I wouldn’t write winter off just yet,” he cautioned. “But once we get a couple weeks into March, we should turn things around” and transition into fairly consistent spring-like weather.
Spring should be warmer than normal, Samuhel said. But it also may be fairly rainy, he said.
Meterological winter will actually be over on March 1. (Forecasters define it as the months of December, January and February.) Astronomical winter, the one that is determined by the Earth’s progress orbiting around the sun, won’t be over until March 20.
He said the strong El Niño has been the driving pattern for the warm weather here. Though El Niño has been weakening, it is expected to continue to dictate weather patterns and help push warmer weather to our area during the spring, he said.
Samuhel also said warmth in the Atlantic Ocean has influenced the above average temperatures we’ve experienced. He said that as storms approach our area, especially when they track south to north and pass off to our west, they suck up warm air from the ocean.