Ohio Department of Natural Resources workers Matt Wolfe, left, and Steve Moss didn’t have too much fun in the cold Monday cleaning nets used this weekend to catch walleye eggs for hatching. Last month was colder with more snow than a typical March for the area, and the start of April wasn’t any better.
By David Skolnick
MARCH CAME IN LIKE a lion and rarely stopped roaring with temperatures at 32 degrees or lower on 28 of its 31 days.
The below-normal temperatures and 19.9 inches of snow in the Mahoning Valley last month made a liar out of Punxsutawney Phil, the famed groundhog who predicted an early spring.
The National Weather Service had predicted a typical March for the area. That’s an average temperature of 36.7 degrees and 10.9 inches of snow.
The NWS prediction was closer than the chubby rodent, but still wrong.
Last month’s snowfall of 19.9 inches was enough for a ninth-place tie with 1951 for the most snow in March in the Valley, according to NWS statistics.
Also, the average temperature last month of 33.3 degrees was 3.4 degrees lower than normal — not cold enough to be in the top 10, but still rather cold.
Only March 10 and 11 and this past Sunday had low temperatures above 32 degrees.
The high temperature was 68 degrees March 10 with the low of 12 degrees March 21.
Though it may not be a fair comparison, the average temperature for March 2012 was 49.5, the warmest March on record for the area, according to the National Weather Service.
“It was horrible,” said Jess Briganti, weather anchor for “WFMJ Today,” the morning show at The Vindicator’s broadcast partner 21 WFMJ-TV, of last month’s weather. “It was one of the worst, particularly compared to last year. The trend was definitely unseasonable.”
The NWS has temperature statistics going back to 1897, and records weather for the area at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna. Those in other parts of the Valley may have had better or worse weather conditions.
The Valley had 80.3 inches of snow between September 2012 and March 2013. That’s No. 10 on the list of most snow to fall in the area for what the NWS calls the winter season, from September of a year to May of the following year.
No. 1 on the list is 118.7 inches for the 2010-11 winter season.
An additional 2.3 inches of snow in April would make the 2012-13 winter season’s snowfall tied for No. 6 with 1992-93.
The area averages 3 inches of snow in April with an average temperature of 48.5 degrees. The NWS expects this April to be about average for the month.
As for an early spring, the snow flying around Monday likely has some in the area wondering if it will ever come.
Mill Creek MetroParks is somewhat optimistic about the weather.
The North Course at Mill Creek Golf Course will open for the season at 8 a.m. Friday. But the South Course will open as weather permits. The NWS predicts Friday’s high to be in the mid-50s.
There is good news for those wanting for spring, but they’re going to have to wait.
Spring weather should be here by next week with the high possibly climbing to 70 degrees by the end of that week, Briganti said.
“We’re not starting [April] too well, but the end of next week we could see above-average temperatures,” she said.
The average high of 60 degrees for the Valley doesn’t happen until April 17, according to National Weather Service records. The area should have highs of that temperature a week early, Briganti said.
AccuWeather, a national weather organization, also expects the unseasonably cool weather to end, at least temporarily, by next Monday with higher temperatures lasting for at least seven to 10 days.
But by the end of April and early May, there could be a weather pattern with clouds and lower temperatures, according to AccuWeather.