On the heels of another mild meteorological winter, spring looks to continue the trend
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's monthly climate call at the end of February discussed the month of January across America, and what to expect for March and for meteorological spring.
One key difference between astronomical and meteorological spring is that astronomical seasons follow the sun angle, while meteorological seasons start on the 1st day of a three-month stretch. Meteorological spring began on March 1 and lasts through the end of May.
January 2022 was above average across much of the country, nearly one full degree above average nationwide. Despite that, it was the coldest January since 2014, in part due to the several cold blasts and the bomb cyclone that dropped double-digit snowfall. (For more on a bomb cyclone: CLICK HERE) Central Park in NYC ended up about three degrees below average.
But that quickly changed in February, ending the month 1.4° warmer than average, with an average temperature of 37.1°. While there were several cold shots yet again, there were also several record-shattering days in the 60s.
More records could potentially be broken this weekend, particularly on Sunday. For New York City, the long-standing record of 68 from 1935 could be broken. News 12 Storm Watch Team meteorologists are predicting highs at or above 70 in New York City as well as parts of New Jersey. And 60s are expected for other parts of the tri-state area.
This is just the beginning of a likely warmer-than-average month ahead. In the NOAA climate call, they highlighted the Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) forecast of warmer-than-average temperatures likely for the majority of the United States in March.
The CPC’s forecast for the spring continues the warmer theme across the eastern two-thirds of the country, especially in parts of the Deep South and Southwest. Part of this forecast is because of La Nina, an area of colder ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean along the equator. NOAA said there is a 77% chance that La Nina will continue through the end of May.
The warmer temperatures, combined with below-average precipitation for much of the same areas, is a concerning combination for a persisting drought. By the end of January 2022, 57% of the country was in a moderate drought or higher. That number is expected to rise.
Drought development is now forecast for parts of Western New Jersey and the Hudson Valley over the next three months, as those areas are currently abnormally dry and are expecting below-average precipitation through May.
Stay with the News 12 Storm Watch Team as we guide you through any storms or significant weather that may be in the forecast.