March…or January? Switch to Colder Weather Surprises Many.

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Are you looking forward to getting outside and enjoying activities in the warm spring sunshine? You will likely have to wait a bit longer if you are.

After a relatively mild February in which temperatures averaged well above normal for most of the month, an abrupt switch to colder than average temperatures late in this winter season has surprised and disappointed many in the area who are eager for spring and warmer weather to arrive.

Temperature graphs on document the precipitious drop temperatures have taken since March 1, when the high was a mild 59 degrees. The average March 1 high temperature at Allentown is 44 degrees.

Since then, highs have been at, or in some cases well below average, although low temperatures have generally been slightly above average.

By contrast, in February the area saw the highest temperature ever recorded in that month (since record-keeping began in 1922) when the mercury reached 81 degrees at Lehigh Valley International Airport Feb. 21. More typical of a June high temperature, that record temp was 40 degrees above the normal high for Feb. 21.

Feb. 16 was also a very warm day, when the high was 66, or 25 degrees above normal.

Ironically, the Lehigh Valley’s biggest snowstorm of the winter–for most–occurred in between those dates, when 6 to 8 inches of snow fell across most of the area Feb. 17.

A forecast major snowstorm earlier this month fizzled when only a few inches fell instead of the foot or more most meteorologists had forecast.

Although some residents of Wassergass and others who live at higher elevations reported eight or more inches of snow March 7, most residents of Hellertown and other ‘in-town’ areas saw only several inches of slushy accumulation after schools and most businesses had closed for the day.

The current forecast for those who are ready for the weather to warm up–and fast–holds little in the way of good news.

Temperatures are expected to remain below normal, according to the current National Weather Service forecast, which predicts that Friday’s high temperature will be just 36 degrees (13 degrees below normal). The forecast low for Friday is 23 degrees, which is six degrees below normal.

There is a slight chance of snow showers Thursday afternoon and evening–especially in the southern Poconos–and a chance of rain and snow Tuesday, Tuesday night and Wednesday, according to the NWS forecast.

Forecast highs from Saturday through next Wednesday are in the low to mid 40s, and forecast lows are in the mid 20s to low 30s. Average highs are around 50 and average lows are around 30 during the third week of March.

The first day of spring is Tuesday, March 20, when the spring equinox will occur at 12:30 a.m. EDT.

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