Welcome to spring ... meteorologically speaking.
It almost seems a joke, given this weekends snowfall in North Carolinas mountains and Charlotte-area temperatures that will be below even early-January averages.
But March 1 marks the beginning of spring for meteorologists, who say seasonal weather changes tend to align better with the start of the month, rather than the traditional date in about three weeks.
This year is a different story, however. A deep low pressure system over the Great Lakes is dragging a series of cold fronts and weak storm systems southeast across the Carolinas, and the first week of March will have a real wintry feel to it.
Perhaps the biggest question surrounds the traditional saying about March weather -- in like a lamb, out like a lion, or vice versa.
That idiom dates back to the 17th Century, from what meteorologists and historians can tell, although its exact origin is not known. According to the saying, weather at the end of March will be the opposite of what happens at the start of the month.
Charlotte-area weather this year at the beginning of March wont exactly fit the lamb or lion description.
Temperatures over the next few days will be well below seasonal averages, with highs Friday around 50 degrees, then only in the middle 40s Saturday and Sunday. The average high at the start of March is around 60 degrees.
Stormy weather isnt expected in the region this weekend, however. A disturbance is forecast to cross the mountains later Friday, bringing a couple inches of snow to the high country and possibly a late-night flurry to the Piedmont. Another disturbance will move over South Carolina on Saturday, and that will bring clouds and possibly a rain or snow shower in the afternoon.
Harry Gerapetritis, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said temperatures Saturday will be above freezing, but he said the heaviest of the showers could pull down enough cold air to create briefly heavy snow in isolated areas.
A quick dusting to an inch would be possible with any heavier snow showers, Gerapetritis said.
But forecasters dont expect a repeat of a quick-moving system that dumped 2 inches of snow two Saturdays ago in Charlotte.
Generally speaking, though, March weather will start quietly in the Charlotte region.
If anything, it means the end of the month will be quite warm. That would be good news for many people, since Easter this year falls on March 31.
The in like a lion description might be more fitting for North Carolinas mountains.
About an inch of snow fell Thursday in the northern mountains, and meteorologists say a disturbance over Tennessee and Kentucky on Friday morning will deliver more snow by afternoon and evening.
Phil Manuel, of the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg, Va., said 2 to 5 inches of new snow could fall by Saturday in Avery, Ashe and Watauga counties of North Carolina, along with adjacent areas of Virginia.
Schools are closed Friday in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. Caldwell Community Colleges Watauga branch opens at 10 a.m., and the Yancey County Schools open on a two-hour delayed basis. Watauga school officials had hoped to conduct a snow makeup day Saturday, but that also has been cancelled.
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