It took awhile, but we've seen a turnaround in our weather the past couple days, and for the first time it's actually looking and feeling like spring. This is coming after an unusually cool March, the 10th coldest in Columbus weather records (since 1946) according to the National Weather Service.* One of the most remarkable things about the cool weather is that we've seen only one 80-degree day (80º on March 18) so far this year.
We're set up to get a few more of those 80s in the coming week. For the first time in a couple months, an upper level ridge is taking over the eastern states, and at the surface a moist southerly wind will take over, the flow coming on the back side of a surface high setting up over the Atlantic much like a summer Bermuda high. It's interesting that even though the week will feel warm to us, it really won't be very far above normal for the season, it just may seem that way because we've been unusually cool for so long.
This pattern, though, won't become established for too long. A storm system will develop in the West on Monday after crossing the Rockies and head in our direction, likely giving us a round of rain and thunderstorms Thursday and Thursday night. Timing of the system is subject to change as forecast models try and come to some kind of consensus.
Forecast map form Thursday morning, April 11
This potent storm could be a major severe weather producer with the primary threat in the Plains and Mississippi Valley. A surface low will track from the Plains to the Northeast, dragging a trailing cold front through this area. For now, the energy with the system appears it will be weaker by the time the front arrives in our backyard. Also significant is the lack of cold air behind the front, so we'll get only a bit cooler for a few days afterward.
Azaleas are in full bloom, pine pollen is all but over now, and cherry trees are late; just now bursting forth with flowers because of the cool February and March. It will make for a delightful first half of the week coming up.
*Many may not remember that March 2010 in Columbus was even colder than this year. Average temperature was 52.4º, at the time our coldest asince 1971. This March we were at 53.7º, which is still 4.1º below the 30-year average.