After another potential light to moderate snowfall on Monday, a brief mild spell will come as welcome relief after weeks of winter weariness. Wednesday’s predicted high near 45 would be the “warmest” day since Dec. 25, when the record high of 61 was anything but Christmas weather.
The brief thaw, combined with a higher angle of the sun and the most daylight since mid-October, will be nice but won’t bring on spring fever. However, a slow, gentle warmup is ideal for eroding the snowpack without flooding.
For those of you on dirt roads, mud season isn’t far off. But early-rising backyard birders are hearing the heart-warming chorus of newly arrived flocks.
Most of us can look forward to the return of daylight saving time, on March 14 this year, when sunset will jump ahead to 6:58 p.m., though commuters will regret the temporary loss of early-morning daylight.
By the time Monday’s snow tapers off, expect 1 to 3 inches in the Berkshires, possibly a bit more. On Tuesday, as highs top the freezing mark, there could be occasional snow and rain showers, and it will be quite windy.
The rest of the week looks uneventful, with Wednesday’s warmup followed by a return to seasonable readings on Friday and Saturday. The averages range from 18 to 36 at that time, as we gain a degree or two every three days.
As the month concludes next weekend, we’ll end up with one of the snowier Februaries, likely with 20 to 22 inches total, compared to the long-term average of 16 inches. No record-setter this year, but a reminder that winter in the Berkshires can still be formidable, though less so than 20 years ago, and certainly nothing like a typical 20th century season.
Nationally, winter-weary residents of Texas, the Southern Plains and the Midwest can expect a rapid, genuine thaw this week with temperatures soaring toward springlike highs. AccuWeather reports that last week’s siege of frigid air that originated in Siberia, moved across the polar region and sliced deep into the U.S. heartland produced more than 4,500 daily record low temperatures.
All-time record lows were set in some locations, including Hastings, Nebraska, when the temperature plummeted to 30 below zero; Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a recording of 20 below zero; Lawton, Oklahoma, at 12 below zero; and Tyler, Texas, with a record of 6 below zero, according to National Weather Service data.
The temperature accelerates during the next few days, surging to levels 30-, 40- and 50-degrees higher than during the depths of the frigid outbreak from Feb. 13-16. Toward the end of this week, some areas, especially in Texas, should bask in sunshine with highs 60 to 70 degrees above last week’s readings.
But by next weekend, since it’s still winter, the springlike tease should end, with temperatures back to near or slightly below normal for most of the nation.
For the first week of March, the government’s Climate Prediction Center has most of the eastern U.S., including New England, in the above-normal range for temperatures and for rain or snowfall. The Carolinas, Georgia and Florida are expected to be especially warm.