Tell Puxatawney Phil, that fat groundhog up in Pennsylvania to screw himself — Spring arrived today, with winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour in Southwestern Virginia, a high in the mid-50s, and a drop in humidity.
Monday starts days of highs in the 60s through Friday, when a weekend drop cools us down into the 50s and even a low below freezing overnight on Sunday, but back into the mid-to-high 60s for the rest of March.
Now, let’s think back to the hype of “Groundhog Day.” Six more weeks of winter? Doesn’t look like it.
For most of us, leaving behind the frigid temperatures of January and February is more than welcome. Of course, we still might get a clinging hit of winter in April, but most forecasts don’t predict that, with the caveat that too many forecasts are wrong.
The National Weather Service office in Blacksburg has issued an “increased fire danger alert to Southwest Virginia and Northwest North Carolina.” It is part of a multistate alert that stretches from Texas eastward to Georgia and into the Carolinas, will include some thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes.
Spring officially commences on Sunday, and while that happens, a sharp southward plunge of the jet stream and an area of low pressure aloft will be tracking across the Southwest. By Monday, that storm system will have tapped into a supply of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the development of widespread rain and thunderstorms in the southern and central U.S.
Those storms will likely produce tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail in parts of the South as the system tracks eastward through the middle part of next week. Flooding rain is also a potential threat from portions of the South into the Midwest.
What’s not certain yet is the magnitude and locations of the greatest tornado, damaging wind, large hail, and flooding rain threats. Those details will become more certain once the ingredients come more into focus.
As we were saying: Weather forecasting is some science and a lot of guessing.
Anyone up for groundhog stew?