March is the most volatile month of the year weatherwise as winter and spring duke it out.
It’s when winter transitions into spring and huge contrasts in air masses make for a nasty March cocktail. A battle zone of air masses results when lingering arctic fronts set up the dividing line between polar air colliding with spring-like milder temps. In this zone, you get massive outbreaks of severe storms and the tornado season launches, starting usually in late March and hits a peak by mid-late April.
But March in Philly has had some record snowstorms, including the infamous blizzard of 1888 when Philadelphia got smacked with 10.5 inches of snow along with winds approaching 80mph along the Jersey Shore.
And of course the very first “storm of the century” March 13-14, 1993, when we got buried with 12 inches of snow and sleet.
Winter Storm December 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Meteorologists are watching a low pressure system with the potential to bring a major winter storm with blizzard conditions next week to the mid-Atlantic, including the Lehigh Valley.
But don’t go altering travel plans just yet, because it also could just blow out to sea.
AccuWeather, a private forecasting company in State College, says there are indications the jet stream next week could form into an upward loop, similar to a an upside “U” or the Greek letter omega, and drop an “atmospheric bomb” on the mid-Atlantic.
AccuWeather.com’s expert senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski says the system could bring “a foot or more of wind swept snow, travel mayhem, power outages and the whole nine yards with a storm hugging the coast. Or, he says, it could just turn into “another non-event with the storm heading out to sea.”
Fortunately for those still reeling from the effects of Sandy, the storm shouldn’t be anywhere near as dangerous, Accu-weather senior meterologist Alan Reppert said.
Storm conditions will begin Wednesday and continue overnight into Thurday. The Lehigh Valley could see wind gusts of 40 mph and about an inch of rain, Reppert said. The Poconos may see snow, depending on the storm’s track.
If you like variety, this will be the summer for you.
A few days of hot weather, followed by storm, then a few days of cooler weather. Repeat.
That could be what awaits us from June to August, based on several long-term forecasts.
“Maybe this is a summer where we don’t have long heat waves of a week or 10 days of 90 degrees,” said Millersville University meteorologist Eric Horst. “Instead, they come in smaller clusters, a couple of days in the 90s and then a front goes through and we get relief.”