So, what happened to those balmy days two weeks ago with highs in the 60s, 70s and 80s? Since Saturday, temperatures in Baltimore have averaged 6, 7, 8, even 11 degrees below normal. We haven't managed to rise above the long-term averages in a week, stuck as we are in the 40s, and maybe the odd afternoon of 50-plus. Barely.
And with the wind, it's been downright raw. The daffodils are out, along with some forsythia and a few flowering trees. But that just makes it all the more exasperating. It looks like spring, but it feels like February.
"That's not all that unusual - for spring to behave in that way," said Todd Miner, a meteorologist at Penn State Weather Communications. "We like to think of it as the battle between winter and summer. As you progress toward summer, think of it as two steps forward and one step back. You're gonna have these setbacks."
Don't blame the forecasters. Blame the "Greenland block." That's a ridge of high pressure in the North Atlantic, near Greenland. "Whenever you have that type of pattern, it tends to teleconnect to a cold pattern in eastern North America," Miner said.
In this case, like a boulder in a mountain stream, it's driving the northern jet stream southward into the Eastern U.S., pumping cold, Canadian air (drat those pesky Canadians!) our way, day after day.
But it's going to break up soon. Right, Todd?
"It doesn't look like it," he said. "If you look at the weather patterns for the next week or so, it's hard to come up with a regime that would bring unusually mild conditions to the Northeast for a several day period, like what we had there around mid-month."
Remember that? It was 68 degrees on the 9th, then 77, 71, 69, 84 and 74. A week of relief from winter's grip. We thought we'd stepped out into the Promised Land.
Not yet, Miner said. "It does look fairly chilly, at least to the middle part of next week.
Please suh, may we have a crumb? "You could see where there could be a day or two, toward the middle of next week, when temperatures could eke up to normal, perhaps above normal," he said. Normal, friends, is 58, maybe 59 degrees. You will not be sitting at a sidewalk cafe sipping Mai Tais. They do that in Europe. Not here.
But that's just the way it is. "Spring is a transition season," Miner said. "More often than not, we tend to get that little warm spell in that mid-March period, and sort of flip back to winter. It seems to happen around the Equinox. Then it tends to crawl back out again sometime in late March."
And then it gets cold again, and it snows on Opening Day. We know. The increase in solar heating that comes with the advancing season just doesn't warm the atmosphere at a slow, steady pace. It's a series of lurches and setbacks.
Patience is the answer, Miner said. "You know it will not be snowing on July 4. That much we know." That's true. But then we'll complain about the heat.