NOTE: This article includes information and text from the National Weather Service.
(WGHP) – After some recent warm weather in the Triad, cooler weather seems to be on the horizon. Although relatively uncertain at this time, forecast confidence is growing for the possibility of a major pattern shift across the country.
The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting the potential for below-normal temperatures nationwide from March 11 to March 24.
Why could we see a possible cool down in March?
Models are indicating what’s known as a sudden stratospheric warming event which is when temperatures warm suddenly high above the North Pole, in the stratosphere. These events can lead to stratospheric temperatures warming as much as 120 degrees in a matter of days.
The dramatic warming has been known to disrupt the polar vortex, splitting it in two. As this happens, chunks of cold air in the lower atmosphere can plunge southward into the mid-latitudes, where the United States is located.
This often leads to the buckling of the jet stream. A “wavy” jet stream is able to tap into the arctic air and bring it southward.
The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting the colder air to arrive in the lower 48 by mid-March.
The week three and week four outlook from the CPC shows below normal temperatures likely from the northern United States to as far south as Texas and Louisiana. The only state that is not expecting colder-than-normal temperatures from March 11 to March 24 is Florida, where above-normal temperatures are forecast.
Forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center say, “… there is high uncertainty with stratospheric warming events whether impacts will significantly affect the troposphere to a sufficient degree to impact the eventual observed anomalous temperature.”
This means that just because a stratospheric warming event is possible, it doesn’t guarantee that we’ll see impacts such as cooler temperatures. It is, however, something that the FOX8 weather team will be keeping an eye on.
March Precipitation Outlook
In January and February, the Triad received above-normal rainfall. So far, we’ve received 7.44 inches of rain, which puts us nearly 1.25 inches ahead of normal heading into March.
The Midwest and Northwest have a higher chance of seeing above-normal precipitation while the southern United States, from Texas to South Carolina, have a higher chance for below-normal precipitation in March.
The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting equal chances for above- and below-normal precipitation in March for North Carolina.
What’s considered a “normal” March in the Triad?
At the beginning of the month, our normal high temperatures in the Triad are in the upper 50s. By mid-March, we see highs reach the low 60s. The month ends with our normal high temperature in the mid-60s.
Morning temperatures on Mar. 1 are normally in the mid-30s but by the end of the month, they reach the mid-40s.
By the end of March, “normal” monthly rainfall is 3.72 inches.
In February, we tied the record for the warmest high temperature for the month at 81 degrees. Let’s take a look at the records for March.
The warmest we’ve ever been in the Triad in March was in 1945 on the 17th with a high of 90 degrees.
The coldest temperature the Triad has observed in March was five degrees on March 6, 1960.
Days get longer and Daylight Saving Time begins
March is the first month of meteorological spring. This means not only are temperatures getting warmer, but they’re also getting longer!
On Mar. 1, we’ll have daylight for about 11 hours and 24 minutes. By Mar. 31, our day lasts even longer with 12 hours and 33 minutes of daylight. The Piedmont Triad will gain approximately 69 minutes of daylight this month.
Daylight Saving Time also begins this month. While this means we’ll “lose” an hour of sleep as we spring forward, it also means the sunset will be after 7 p.m. starting Mar. 12.