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Published: Thursday, 3/20/2014 - Updated: 8 months ago

Calendar says spring, but weather won’t cooperate

‘Modified’ Arctic plunge will keep chill around

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kimberly Tippin of Holland carries trays of flowers inside a greenhouse at Tom Strain & Sons and Daughter Too Farm Market and Garden Center in Toledo in preparation for the garden center’s opening day on April 12. Kimberly Tippin of Holland carries trays of flowers inside a greenhouse at Tom Strain & Sons and Daughter Too Farm Market and Garden Center in Toledo in preparation for the garden center’s opening day on April 12.
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Spring officially arrives today in the Northern Hemisphere, but beyond seeing the sun rise and set on the horizon of our arrow-straight east-west roads, people in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan shouldn’t be blamed for not noticing.

The winter of 2013-14 isn’t giving up without a fight.

A spritz of snow showers toward the end of the storm that brought rain to the Toledo area Wednesday isn’t expected to accumulate, nor is snow in forecasts for Friday or Saturday. In both days, snow is expected to change to rain during the day.

With the exception of Friday, temperatures are expected to stay colder than average at least the next week.

“It’s not going to be anywhere close to normal,” said Tom King, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Cleveland.

A storm coming through on Saturday, Mr. King said, will bring “another little modified Arctic plunge, basically” with daytime highs only in the low 30s on Sunday and Monday and only slightly higher Tuesday when some more snow is possible in Toledo.

“The system will be weak, as it appears right now — a disturbance aloft with a weak low — so right now it doesn’t look like it’s a concentrated, big-time snow-maker,” the forecaster said.

At 12:57 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the sun’s rays will shine most directly on the equator, with neither the Northern Hemisphere nor the Southern Hemisphere tilted toward the sun on the planet’s rotational axis.

As the days advance, the Earth’s orientation will tilt the north more toward the sun, lengthening the days and producing more solar heating that will usher in the warmer days of spring and summer.

But whatever the storm turns out to be, the weather will make March, 2012, feel like a very distant memory. Then, the first day of spring already had a near summer feel.

Galanthus, or snowdrops as they are more commonly known, peek through the soil at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg. The first day of spring is today, even if the temperatures feel anything but springlike. Galanthus, or snowdrops as they are more commonly known, peek through the soil at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg. The first day of spring is today, even if the temperatures feel anything but springlike.
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March 20, 2012, was the second of four straight 80-degree days in Toledo, with the following two days’ 85-degree highs setting, and then tying, the city’s record for the warmest March day. On average, March ended up being 1.4 degrees warmer than April that year.

So far this month, Toledo has hit 50 only twice.

While 50 could be in reach on Friday, most of the immediate future is for more colder-than-normal temperatures next week — much colder considering that the normal daytime high reaches 50 on Saturday and continues to climb.

March at Toledo Express Airport has been 10.4 degrees colder than normal through Tuesday, and the next week’s weather should maintain that trend.

At the Toledo Botanical Garden, where mild winters have boosted flower bulbs’ early appearances, the only flowers blooming Wednesday were aptly named snowdrops, Karen Ranney Wolkins, the garden’s executive director, said.

But gardeners shouldn’t fear that this exceptionally snowy, cold, and persistent winter will hurt their flowers, Ms. Ranney Wolkins said.

“The cold does not hurt the bulbs, it just makes them stay dormant longer,” she said. “The worst thing for bulbs is if they come up, and then we get a snow.”

Crocuses and daffodils also have started to send up their shoots as the Toledo area’s snow cover has melted.

Those early flowers are later than usual, Ms. Ranney Wolkins said, but March weather shouldn’t affect plants that emerge later in the spring.

“Once we get into the regular growing season, it should be back to normal,” she said.

Mr. King said there could be a “moderating” pattern, a warmup, by Thursday of next week.

“We’ll see if that happens,” he said.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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