Early Spring Weather Warmer Than Normal

Spring Grass

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This year, the early spring weather really is warmer than normal. Nope, you did not imagine it!

You all know by now that the spring equinox 2016 was the earliest in our lifetime, arriving on March 19 and 20. However, this is an astronomical event and due to some Leap Year weirdness.

Coincidentally, our springtime weather also came early for most of North American.

  • Of course, New York and the Northeast, just to be different, celebrated the beginning of spring with snow.
  • But, if you were in Chicago, Dallas or LA, springtime weather came early.

See this chart showing the departure from normal tempeatures from March 1 to March 22, 2016.

Spring warmth came early! Image: HPRCC.


Why is this happening?

  • The early warmth that we are feeling this springtime is due to warm waters off our Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts. The giant El Niño has washed hotter waters as far north as Alaska.
  • Meanwhile the tropical Gulf Stream is as much as 5°F steamier off the East Coast. The marine air masses are wafting inland, bringing lovely warmth and some very unlovely storms. 

The warm coastal waters are giving us a warm early spring. Source: NOAA

So get out the seeds and Bermuda shorts. It’s a warm start to spring and might as well enjoy it!

If you would like to learn more about the early spring equinox, The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a special video show about spring here, complete with astronomy pictures and gardening tips!

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to "Weather Whispers" by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather--from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these blog posts. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.

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