I had a great chat with one of my friends yesterday who is a garden designer. He was telling me about the emotional stages he has gone through with regard the cold and snow this winter. He said, at first he loved the snow, then he was frustrated, then he became angry and felt trapped. He recounted to me he has now become resigned, just waiting for the eventual thaw.
March is just a few days away and March can be a very frustrating month when it comes to spring. Some good new first. Meteorological winter ends this weekend. This is coldest 90 days of the year and in this part of the world is generally accepted as December 1st through the end of February. Some climatologists argue it’s closer to December 4th through March 4th, but you get the idea.
While meteorological spring is close, astronomical spring won’t arrive until Friday March 20th. That’s the time when the sun is directly overhead on the equator and every spot on the planet has roughly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Over the next three weeks, something amazing happens with regard to the strength and amount of sunlight. This increase in solar radiation will start to rapidly melt the snow and transform our barren landscape.
Between today and mid-March, we will gain almost exactly an hour of daylight. Equally impressive is the daily increase in the sun’s height at noon. Currently, the sun peaks about 40 degrees above the horizon at midday, on the first day of spring that number is just under 50 degrees.
This added height of the sun means its rays will reach more and more of the ground in the coming weeks. Places in shadow on a sunny day at the end of February will become illuminated by the first day of spring.
If you are a morning person, there is one coming event that might set your mood back a bit. This year, we set the clock ahead on March 8th. While this means sunsets after 7PM, it also mean late sunrises are back for about 4 weeks. The sunrise on March 7th is at 6:10AM, but the following morning it’s at 7:09.
A storm system is passing to our south today and bringing clouds, flurries or even a period of light snow south of Boston. I am not expecting much accumulation, but there could be a coating up to an inch or two. The actual measurable snow most likely occurs well south of Boston along the southeast coast, Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
The radar loop below shows some snow moving through the area, mostly before 5PM. Notice the darker blue, the steadiest snow, remains south of the city.
Cold and dry weather continues this weekend. Another weather maker may bring some light snow or snow showers Sunday night or early Monday. Presently, this also isn’t looking like a big deal. The middle of the upcoming week looks unsettled with some snow or rain. The deep arctic air will remain to our north, but there could be significant moisture with the midweek system.
I’ll update my thinking about next week’s storm on Twitter @growingwisdom.
Obviously, 6 days before a possible weather event there are multiple scenarios that could play out and speculate is about all I can do. Things will become clearer during the weekend.
February has been cold and February has been snowy. A new month is close and even with more snow and cold ahead, spring is coming. Hang in there.