EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — March roared in like a lion with some stormy weather and mild temperatures on Wednesday, but more winter-like conditions are expected to return later this week.
February ended up being the 20th snowiest on record for Providence. The winter weather that included an official blizzard on Feb. 9 was short-lived, however. Record warmth settled into New England after Valentine’s Day and it’s been a roller coaster ride since.
Temperatures soared into the 70s last week, which is very unusual for February. A quick blast of cold air advancing into the region over the weekend helped spawn nasty thunderstorms, one producing a tornado in western Massachusetts that caused significant damage to the small town of Conway.
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So why have we seen so many ups and downs this winter? Simply put, it looks like the groundhog was wrong and spring will be arriving early this year – very early.
In late January and early February, the jet stream was positioned to give us cold and snowy weather. It shifted mid-month and warm air surged across most of the country.
A map from the National Phenology Network, which tracks plant leaf progress, indicates that plants are leafing almost three weeks earlier than normal in the South and mid-Atlantic.
The early onset of spring clashing with what’s left of winter is causing these wild fluctuations here in Southern New England.
March 1 marks the beginning of meteorological spring. Meteorological winter, which runs from December through February, was the eighth warmest on record and, at the same time, the 20th snowiest on record.