The snowfall output was meager, with only 0.6 inches falling, the third-lowest amount on record. During February, typically Washington’s snowiest month, just a trace of snow was observed.
Spring is clearly in the air. Flowers started blooming in February, and, based on the emergence of tree leaves and other vegetation, the USA National Phenology Network indicated that spring reached Washington at the beginning of March (more than three weeks ahead of schedule).
We might have declared winter over, arguably, on March 1. After a few chilly days to end February, every day this month has hit at least 50 degrees.
Temperatures this week are forecast to be at least 60 degrees through Friday or Saturday.
Spring will hit a bit of a speed bump later this weekend, and it’s possible that highs will be only in the 40s on Sunday and/or Monday.
Every year, we remind readers that once we declare winter over, it is totally normal to have brief bouts of chilly weather during spring, even into May.
Our pronouncement of spring’s arrival doesn’t mean every day will be sunny and mild. In fact, spring can and does occasionally deliver some cold, raw days and, once in a while, even wet snow.
Based on long-range projections, we expect to have more bouts of chilly weather. In addition to Sunday and Monday, the last 10 days of March may bring a brief period of below-average temperatures, according to Capital Weather Gang’s Matt Rogers, who specializes in long-range forecasting. Until then, however, temperatures should generally average above normal.
To declare winter over, we need the following criteria to be met:
- No identifiable threat of accumulating snow in long-range forecasts that could remain on the ground for 12 hours or more.
- No identifiable threat of cold weather lasting more than 48 hours, when we define cold weather as highs in the 40s (or colder) and lows below freezing in Washington (as measured at Reagan National Airport).
We started the tradition of declaring an end to winter in 2014. This year’s declaration is among the earliest (and could have been made even earlier, on March 1).
Last year, we made the declaration on March 27. Here are the dates from earlier years:
In most years, springlike weather prevailed after the stated dates. But in 2014, it snowed two days after we declared winter over. Mother Nature, once in a while, offers a surprise, and the earlier we declare the season over, the greater the risk of such an outcome.