Friday is the first day of “Meteorological” Spring. That’s right! Meteorologists declare the first day of March as the “unofficial” beginning to Spring. But, just when you thought we might be getting a little break from the cold, Mother Nature decided to throw a curveball. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a high likelihood for below normal temperatures for the first half of March. The darker the blue, the greater the likelihood for colder temperatures. Yikes!

NOAA Climate Prediction Center 8-14 Day Outlook

Computer models are in pretty good agreement that March will begin much colder than normal. Below is a simulation of what the jet stream may look like in the first week of March. Remember how I said we will be colder when the jet stream is to our south? Well, that’s what’s probably going to happen over the next few weeks. The jet stream is located where you see all of those bright red colors below, stretching all the way from Northern California to the eastern shore of the Carolina’s. If you’re still confused on what the jet stream is, just remember that it’s simply the streak of really fast winds 30,000 feet above our heads. Temperatures are colder on the northern side of the jet stream and warmer on the southern side of the jet stream.

Tropical Tidbits - GFS Model 250mb Winds

Both major computer models that we use for weather forecasting - the American and European Models - are in high agreement that temperatures will be below normal to begin March. Take a look at both of the images below... they are almost identical! The top image is the American Model on Monday morning and the bottom image is the European model on Monday morning. Blue and purple colors correspond to much colder than normal temperatures. When both of these computer models are in good agreement like you see here, that’s a pretty good indicator of what’s to come.

Tropical Tidbits, GFS 850 Temp Anomaly, MONDAY MORNING

Tropical Tidbits, EURO 850 Temp Anomaly, MONDAY MORNING

For the beginning of March in Erie, the normal daytime temperature is 39 degrees and the normal nighttime temperature is 23 degrees. Next week, temperatures will likely be in the lower 20’s during the daytime and the lower teens during the nighttime! But, how about snow? Will March begin with a lot of snow?

No signs point to any major snow events in the next few weeks, but frequent, light snow events look more likely. This weekend (March 2nd and 3rd) will likely feature some snow, as a low pressure system quickly moves across the country. We may be battling the rain/snow line, as our temperatures could be in the lower 30’s on Saturday.

Tropical Tidbits, GFS Rain/Snow Saturday Night

 After this quick system moves through, a massive surge of cold air will come rushing back in! Bundle up and stay warm these next few weeks!

Meteorologist Joe Curtis