After a day that brought up to six inches of snow in Dahlonega, and icy conditions to parts of the north metro area (but not Gwinnett County), the groundhogs have made their annual predictions for the arrival of spring.
Both Beauregard Lee and Punxatawny Phil woke up this morning, and didn’t see their shadows. According to legend, this means that spring is just around the corner.
You wouldn’t know it from some of the more traditional models of weather forecasting. The overall weather pattern in the United States has a ridge in the west, and a trough in the east. This is allowing brutally cold air to descend from Canada into the middle of the country and then move eastward, while the western part of the country stays warm.
This weather pattern will probably stay in place for the next week to ten days. Even though the coldest part of winter is theoretically over, we’ll be lucky to see 50 degrees the week of the 12th, even though by then the high should be around 55. After that, there’s a possibility that the pattern will shift to more favorable weather, or at least something that gives us the possibility of seeing 60 during the day.
Meanwhile, central Florida got a taste of one of the bad things about spring — strong tornadoes. At last report, at least 19 people died when a tornado ripped through the Orlando area early this morning. The satellite picture below shows central Florida this morning, and highlights Lady Lake, one of the towns severely damaged by the cyclone.
Here in Georgia, we typically don’t get the worst tornadoes until March. The Weather Service has scheduled Severe Weather Awareness Week for the week of February 19th, including a statewide tornado drill on the 21st.