Are we really done with winter now?

Spring in New England can bring a variety of weather. Last year at this time, we all had at least some snow on the ground, and it would be another five to 10 days before a majority saw bare ground. When the snow, which contained very little moisture, melted, the ground was already dry. The pattern then quickly turned warm and a spring drought was underway.

This year is already quite different. With the exception of a brief interruption Monday and part of Tuesday, most of us haven’t had snow cover since February. Spring arrived early, but we’ve had adequate moisture. There is no drought yet this spring, and with a regular parade of weather systems in the pipeline, we aren’t going to be drying out any time soon.

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Of course what happens this summer is still up for debate and interpretation. Most summers are dry in New England, with the pattern of rainfall from thunderstorms highly variable.

So is winter over? I blogged about winter being done back on March 7. Since we had a storm Monday, with 3-6 inches of snow, obviously I jumped the gun a bit. That’s the fun of long-range predictions, you really never know. As you saw, the snow melted incredibly fast due to the warm ground and strong March sunshine, which is as powerful as mid-September.

We can’t predict just how abnormal a weather event is going to be. On May 6, 1977, when it was 81 degrees in Boston and Worcester, who could have imagined there would snow four days later? That year, 10 inches of wet snow was on the ground the morning of May 10 in Worcester, and 30 hours later it was gone.

spring snow
May 1977 forecast. —Weather Wisdom

Looking ahead, there’s been a strong signal of a cold period to start in April in some areas. The European has the core of the cold coming to the Midwest and New England, but other models keep it farther west or in Canada. The images below are from the GFS and Canadian models. I note where the cold air will be located.

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spring snow
April’s cold air —Weather Wisdom
spring snow
April’s cold air. —Weather Wisdom

If it’s cold, it can always snow. However, if you are playing the odds, it won’t. There was a blizzard April 1, 1997, and a very cold powdery snowstorm, with over a foot of snow, on April 6 and 7 in 1982.

I prefer to treat spring like spring, and if it gets interrupted for a day or two, then I’ll deal with it. Monday’s snow melted on warmer surfaces so fast I only had 2 inches on the driveway when it ended, yet there was 5 inches on the grass. The snow blower, which I put in the back of the garage two weeks ago, remains there and shall for at least another eight months, even if I have to shovel a foot myself before then.

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