It appears meteorological spring, which kicks off on March 1, will start on a cold note after late-February snows add onto what’s been a snowier-than-usual winter for some. But while places in northern New England have seen well-above snow, portions of the Mid Atlantic are at or near record low amounts of snow for the winter season.
On Thursday, March 19, 2020, we’ll be welcoming spring and saying farewell to the 2019-2020 Winter. The timing of the four seasons is determined by shifting sunlight, which on its own is determined by how our planet orbits the Sun and the tilt of its axis. Half-way between winter and summer, spring will see days getting longer and temperatures getting warmer throughout the northern hemisphere while the days will be getting colder in the southern hemisphere. To simplify things, meteorologists use dates other than the equinox to determine the start/end dates of weather seasons. As such, the first day of meteorological spring arrives on March 1 and ends May 31.
According to the National Weather Service, the first day of meteorological spring will feature temperatures at 20 degrees or less across the Great Lakes and Northeast. Portions of Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine will also be at or below zero degrees. This same area is likely to see accumulating snow in the coming days before February ends, adding to what’s already been a big snow season across northern New England. While some areas are seeing well above snow there, the opposite is true further south.
Portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware are on-track to be in their top 5 least snowy winter seasons. In Philadelphia to date, 0.3″ of snow fell, which tops the trace that fell during the snowless 1972-1973 season. The 5.3″ that Allentown, PA received puts it in the least snowy winter on record, with the 1972-1973 total of 7.4″ right behind it. 1972-1973 was a bad winter for snow-lovers in Atlantic City too; that winter only saw 0.4″ of snow, a hair less than the 0.5″ recorded this winter season. In Wilmington, Delaware, 1997-1998 was a snowless winter season, with only trace reported then. This year’s 0.9″ puts the 2019-2020 winter season as the second least snowiest winters there in Delaware.
In addition to having a lack of snow, places like New York City have also had a lack of cold. From December 1 to February 15, New York City’s Central Park saw 53 days with average temperatures higher than normal while only 24 days saw average temperatures below normal. The 4.8″ of snow Central Park has seen is below the average YTD amount of 16.7″.