Winter vs. Spring: Battle Between Cold and Warm
This week is officially the first full week of March. It’s the “unofficial” beginning to Meteorological Spring, even though it certainly won’t feel like it! The first official beginning to Spring arrives on March 20th, which is just a few weeks away. March is always the battleground between Old Man Winter and the warmth of a fresh, new Spring season. This is certainly what we’ll be seeing this week, as we’ll start the week with bitterly cold air and end the week with milder temperatures.
Below is an image of the American Model’s temperature anomaly chart (courtesy of tropicaltidbits.com) for the beginning of this week. Anomaly means departure from normal… so “temperature anomaly” means how high or how low the temperatures will be compared to what’s normal for this time of the year. Our normal high temperature for this time of the year in Erie is 39 degrees. Notice all of the deep blue and purple colors on the map. That means temperatures are likely going to be much lower than normal early this week. We’ll likely have afternoon temperatures in the teens and twenties and overnight temperatures in the single digits!
We’ll start to warm up considerably heading into next weekend. Below is a snapshot of the same model (courtesy of tropicaltidbits.com) as the above picture, but it’s for next weekend. Notice all of the red and orange colors near Erie, PA. That’s a sign that temperatures will be much higher than normal for Sunday afternoon. Saturday will still probably be chilly with daytime highs in the mid-30’s, but you can expect temperatures in the mid 40’s next Sunday with rain. Again, it’s all because of the battle between Winter’s cold air-masses and Spring’s warm air-masses.
How about snow? With this cold air we’re expecting early this week, can we also expect snow? I think it’s a good possibility, although, snow totals will still probably be light. Expect a couple of flurries during your Monday afternoon, but Tuesday will feature a better chance at some more widespread, light-to-moderate snow. Below is an image of 500mb vorticity from the American model on Tuesday morning (courtesy of tropicaltidbits.com). Does vorticity sound like a word from a foreign language to you? No need to panic… “vorticity” simply refers to the amount of energy, or spin, in the atmosphere. The atmosphere needs energy in order to generate impactful weather, and this is exactly what we look at to gauge how strong that energy will be. Notice the region I circled in purple in the middle of the picture below, that’s what I want you to focus on. The thin strip of yellow, orange, and red colors signal high atmospheric energy, and it’s swinging East towards Northwest Pennsylvania and Western New York. That’ll give us a decent chance for some snow as we head towards Tuesday afternoon.
Here’s a closer look at our First Warning Weather Futurecast Model. This is for Tuesday afternoon. Notice all of the blues on the map for Tuesday! Many areas will be seeing light-to-moderate snow showers for Tuesday. It’ll be enough snow to brush off of your vehicle, but not anything significant. We’re only looking at a general 1-3 inches for Tuesday.
We’ll also have some small chances for snow on Wednesday and Friday, but right now, those don’t look very significant either. The weather always changes in a heartbeat, which means it’s a great idea to download the Erie News Now app this week! You’ll see all of the latest First Warning Weather updates, and your phone will be alerted if any watches, warnings, or advisories pop up.