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Signs of spring along a wintry road

Posted by David Epstein  February 22, 2014 03:14 PM

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If the sun seems a bit brighter today itís because it sort of is. As we reach the final week of February the sun has given us back a full quarter of the light we lost since last summer began. Itís a long road to spring in New England and someday it seems like itís never coming, but it always does. The rain and the thunder yesterday certainly sounded and looked more like a late day in summer. The line of storms was quite intense and even produced a tornado in the metro Washington of Maryland.

This was the first time since 1960 there had been a February tornado. The sun is over 10 degrees higher in the sky at noon this time of year and will have risen 15 degrees since its lowest point early next week. The additional light helps melt the snow, even when the temperatures are not quite over the freezing mark.

Iíll update the forecast on Twitter @growingwisdom.

The upcoming week is going to be cold, but if you look at any area where the land slopes towards the sun the snow will still be vanishing. If you travel along the Massachusetts Turnpike heading west, look on the right side. You will notice bare ground becoming increasingly common even if there is still a lot of snow on flatter surfaces.

In the woods you will see rings of melting forming around the trees where the sun is able to heat the bark of the tree which in turn melts the snow around it. The south side of the tree usually has more melting than the north facing one.

On Friday, the final day of February, is also the final day of meteorological winter. This marks the end of the coldest 90 days and the start of meteorological spring. Of course, we can call the seasons whatever we want, this year Mother Nature is giving Old Man Winter his Ensure because heís not going out without a fight.

Temperatures will trend colder all week with the core of the cold arriving sometime Thursday or Friday. This cold has been widely advertised as there were many indications on multiple models this was going to happen.

While the cold is bad enough, any more snow is going to make it worse. There are two chances of snow over the next 5 days. Chance number one arrives late Sunday night and could foul up the Monday morning commute a bit. Presently, the best chance of any snow would be south of the Pike and amounts look like a coating to an inch or two. Itís not the type of situation where the atmosphere will change and produce a big storm. Itís either nothing or just a coating to 2 inches.

After a cold dry day Tuesday, another storm threatens for Wednesday. This storm has the potential to bring more snow to the area. There are many questions about much impact this will have to the region. The cold air to the north may actually help to shun the storm out to sea. Iíll know more of course early next week, but in this winter of snow and cold, I wonít be comfortable itís going out to sea, if thatís the forecast, until the low pressure has actually gone beyond our area.

Think about the number of situations this winter where the storms have looked like they wouldn't impact the region only to have them creep further west over time. Iím not a betting person, but keep the shovel close.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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