March is a fickle month, weatherwise

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Many old-timers remember or have heard about the St. Patrick’s Day snow of 1936, when snow fell for a continuous 31 hours, leaving in its wake two feet of snow in downtown Elizabethton. According to an old edition of the Elizabethton STAR there were 40 inches of snow at Roan Mountain, five feet of snow in Erwin, and six feet of snow in Newland, N.C.
The article noted that 100 persons were “marooned at Tipton’s Cafe near Roan Mountain.”
The snow was described as the “heaviest in 50 years.” A four-foot snow had been recorded in 1886.
Most of Carter County escaped the snowfall predicted this past weekend by the National Weather Service. Snow fell in Nashville, Tn., to the west and in Asheville, N.C., to the east.
The snow, which brought blizzard conditions to much of the Northeast Tuesday, dropped some snow in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee Monday night, closing schools in the area Tuesday.
From this date forward snowfall is often hard to come by. March and April snows are rare, but not uncommon. To date this is the least snowiest season in years.
Here is music to some of your ears. March is the fastest warming month of the year. The average temperature on the first day in March is 45 degrees warming 13 degrees to 58 degrees by March 31.
But March can be rather fickle too warm at times with snow and cold still possible. The average total precipitation for the month is 3.97 inches.
It’s been fun to watch the weather reports of the past week. It was first sunny and warm, very mild for this time of the year. And then, things began to change. Conditions bounced all over the weather map like a pinball machine depending on where you lived.
The Northeast is experiencing one of the heaviest snowfalls of the winter as is Chicago and places in the Midwest. Freeze warnings have been in place all week in much of the south. If you’re one of the many people anxious to see spring, remember that spring is only five days away.
The official start to spring is March 20, with the vernal equinox at 6:29 a.m. However, days have been slowly growing longer since the winter solstice in December. The pace increased through February and into March, making the day-to-day changes a bit more noticeable. With the time change, sunset is now well after 7 p.m.
Just as daylight time is on the increase, so are the temperatures. Below-average temperatures may still occur at times, but average days will be generally milder than average days a month ago, and they will only get warmer.
This means garden-making time is just around the corner as is the opening day of the baseball season.
Yes, March is a fickle month — and for no reason at all except to give us humans something to talk and write about. Yep, that’s weather.

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