It may feel like a cold snap starting Wednesday with temperatures forecasted to fall about 20 degrees, but according to Jim Keeney of the National Weather Service, temperatures will still be above average for this time of the year.
Coming off the fourth warmest winter on record, weather trends for this area of the United States are expected to continue for the rest of the spring.
“There is really nothing showing us that is going to change anytime soon,” said Keeney.
According to Accuweather, Rolla experienced 20 days with temperatures hitting 70 degrees or higher. Eight of those days the mercury reached into the 80s.
Rolla’s historical average temperature for March is 56 degrees.
So, do near 90 degree temperatures in the beginning of April mean the area will see 130 degrees by the time the real summer weather hits? Doubtful.
“There’s no correlation to a warm spring and what summer will bring,” Keeney said Monday, adding that there is a good chance above average temperatures will be sticking around through the remainder of the spring. The summer weather is still to be determined.
“There’s a wait-and-see type attitude,” said Keeney.” “I think we can probably say it’s not going to be cooler than normal temperatures.”
Keeney warns that people flocking to greenhouses anxious to start gardens need to be aware there is still a possibility, although slight, of a late-season frost. He said by the middle of April the chances of freezing weather should be gone.
“Maybe we have just started our growing season a month early,” Keeney said.
So what caused the mild winter and the feeling that summer is here a few months early?
The blame — or credit —?can be given to a shift in the jet stream, according to Deke Arndt of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Keeney said the jet stream is the wind pattern in the upper atmosphere. He likened it to a “river of air around 40,000 feet.”
“An important factor in the outcome of winter, especially in our part of the world, is the position of the jet stream,” said Arndt in a video on the NOAA website. “What the jet stream does is it divides the cold air to the north from the warm air to the south. And where that jet stream hangs out over the course of the winter, where it stays persistently and consistently, can have a big impact of the outcomes of that winter.”
He explained that areas above the jetstream tend to be cooler, while those located to the south of the jet stream stay warmer. The jetstream stayed much farther to the north than normal this winter, creating warmer than usual temperatures for much of the country.
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