With the start of the new month, it’s time to take a look back at February, and a look ahead to March. Here in Lawrenceville, we had a low of 26.9 degrees on the 11th, and a high of 73.2 on the 22nd, with a mean temperature of 47.4 degrees, about two degrees warmer than normal.
For precipitation, we recorded 5.3 inches of rain, or about half an inch more than normal, when you figure in averages for Atlanta and Athens. About two inches of that came in on President’s day, when the year’s first severe thunderstorms and hail pounded the area. Overall, though, we’re still about an inch and a half below normal precipitation, due to the extremely dry weather in January.
I dutifully looked at the National Weather Service’s updated monthly forecast this morning, and saw what looked a lot like the maps I posted back on February 17th. The main difference is that it’s now predicted to be colder than normal out through Arkansas and Missouri, where before it was only supposed to be colder in Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
What I found more interesting was this graphic of predicted 6-10 day temperatures:
The entire eastern half of the country will be colder than normal, and the western half will be warmer than normal.
This unusual situation is being caused by what the forecasters say is “a high PNA combined with a negative NAO and a blocking ridge over Iceland”. Translated into English, that means that high pressure aloft over the Pacific Northwest forces the cold, Arctic air down over the Great Plains until it lands at the East coast, where it is blocked by the high pressure over the North Atlantic. Right now, there is no end to this pattern in sight – we should continue through mid-March with highs only reaching the low 60s, and the reason we’ll be that warm is that the sun is getting fairly high in the sky, and providing daytime heating. At night, it will still go down to around freezing.
So, what about precipitation? Forecasts for the month call for equal chances of above or below normal precipitation north Georgia for the month. A storm later this week is likely to pass to our south and spoil spring break in Florida, and models show another chance of wet weather on the 8th, the 12th, and again around St. Patrick’s day. Keep in mind, though, that models that far out can change considerably within a few days, so this is by no means definite. I still think that we have a chance to see some more wintry weather, although it may turn out to be no more than this morning’s flurries.