Is it Spring Yet?
The answer, for some folks is no. Although there have been some hints of warmer, spring like conditions this month, there still has been plenty of chilly weather at times across some portions of the USA.
In the week ahead, we will have more winter weather in some areas of the Rockies and high Plains while very warm temperatures will develop across the southeastern states. The big contrast of cold and some snow in the west and warm in the east will lead to the first real outbreaks of severe weather across the nation’s midsection as we get deeper into spring.
For you folks out west in the Rockies and the northern Plains, don’t put away your warm weather gear or even your snow shovel. Winter is not going completely away yet, especially from the upper Midwest, west to the Rockies as unseasonably cold conditions are likely to persist through the next week to 10 days. Many areas in the west and northern plains will have some late season snows this week (especially WY, CO, NE, SD, ND) while severe weather (thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail) will be breaking out in the southern plains and Corn Belt states.
Why is the cold hanging on so long? First of all, there is still a lot of cold air locked up in the higher latitudes as most of really cold air recently has been south of the North Pole. Also, there is an amazing amount of snow cover still over Canada (more than one to two feet in some areas). This helps keep the air cold above the snow cover for a bit longer into the spring season.
We will likely see this snow map show increased snow cover farther south into the USA by this time next week.
For folks in the Rockies and northern Plains, the most recent snow event this week most likely won’t be your last as more stormy and cold weather is likely headed your way for the next week or two. Of course, the silver lining in all the clouds of the stormy and cold weather is the badly needed precipitation that portions of the central and northern plains will receive. There is good news for the Dakotas, Nebraska and the central and northern Rockies as more precipitation is likely on the way. Also, some heavy rains in the central and western Corn Belt are likely as well.
Unfortunately, we are still experiencing dryness in the southwest and southern plains, especially west Texas and New Mexico and into Arizona. While the pattern will be active, only minor amounts of precipitation are expected in those areas.
With the changing seasons and the collision of the air masses it is time to get prepared for the upcoming severe weather season. The severe weather season of 2012 was a bit lackluster (especially compared to the severe weather in 2011). For 2013, odds are that we will have a bit more in the way of severe weather this spring season as compared to last. This will be especially true in the nations mid section where thunderstorm and tornado frequency will likely be higher than last year. You can thank the very dry spring and drought of last year for the relatively quiet severe weather season in 2012. Of course, severe weather means hail season. The map below shows average number of hail occurrences in a season and tornadoes in the graphic below.