Spring officially arrives on March 20, 2017, at precisely 6:29 a.m. EDT, at least according to astronomy, if not meteorology.
We know what you’re saying, “But wait, what happened to winter?”
We admit that this past winter was a bit baffling. While there was an abundance of snow in the Northeast during the month of February and ski areas from coast to coast did very well, the bitter cold we had forecasted never quite materialized (did WE get handed the wrong envelope??). But we’re thinking that was a good thing for lower fuel bills, and are humbled by Mother Nature reminding us that even the best long-range weather predictions, based on a 200-year-old mathematical formula, is no match for her will.
And just when it seemed like spring might actually come early after all, a brisk Alberta Clipper swooped into northern regions of the U.S. and Canada, bringing winter-like temperatures and wind chills in the teens. So since most of us have had enough of the Jekyll-and-Hyde dreariness, we’re setting our sights ahead.
While spring means warmer temps, blooming flowers, and gardening, it’s a season notorious for crazy, unpredictable weather. So what’s in store? Here’s our 2017 outlook:
Overall our spring outlook calls for above-normal temperatures for more than half of the country, especially in southern California, the central and southern Rockies, the Southwest Desert, the central and southern Great Plains, the Southern Great Lakes and Greater Ohio Valley, the Deep South, including Florida, the Southeast, and Middle Atlantic Coast, Pennsylvania, New York, and all of New England.
Regions that we expect will see near-normal springtime temperatures include central and northern California, the Pacific Northwest, the northern Rockies, the northern Plains, and central and northern Great Lakes.
Wetter than normal conditions are anticipated over the Northern Great Plains and most of the Great Lakes. However, the Southeast as well as Arizona and New Mexico are targeted for drier-than-normal spring conditions. The rest of the nation is expected to see their normal complement of seasonal precipitation.
Spring Weather By Zones
For day-to-day predictions be sure to check our long-range weather forecasts here.
Zone 1 – New England and Northeast
As we get ready to say goodbye to winter, the Northeast will experience some heavy thunderstorms, so we recommend you break out those green umbrellas for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But those should clear out and make way for some fair and pleasant conditions as spring officially arrives on the 20th. In fact, much of spring will toggle between wet weather and fair skies.
Bottom line: We’re calling for intermittent stormy conditions, with above-normal temperatures. Those famous April showers should get those May flowers blooming.
Zone 2 – Great Lakes, Ohio Valley & Midwest
Showers and heavy thunderstorms usher in some cold weather and snow flurries for the opening days of spring in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. April showers will live up to their fame this month, but they will be accompanied by a few pleasant spring-like days with mild temperatures.
Bottom Line: Wetter-than-normal conditions and unseasonably mild temps are anticipated over most of the Great Lakes.
Zone 3 – Southeast
In the Southeastern states, the season will open to fair conditions followed by a few hefty thunderstorms, particularly over the Southeast for mid-March. But overall, fair weather, warm temperatures and drier-than-normal conditions dominate the season. The threat of possible tornadic weather will gradually increase as we progress through the season, perhaps peaking by mid or late June.
Bottom Line: Very warm & dry for most of the zone.
Zone 4 – North Central
In the North Central region, fair and cold weather will greet the opening days of spring, followed by stormy conditions. A stormy April leads to a pleasant May. However, as spring closes out and turns to summer, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas could see some dangerous storms with hail, even an isolated tornado.
Bottom line: Unseasonably mild temperatures and average rainfall for much of the region; but wet for the Northern Plains.
Zone 5 – South Central
In the South Central region, the season will open with fair, cold conditions but it increasingly becomes unsettled. April will be greeted by thunderstorms, some dangerous, especially mid-month. May will be wet and unsettled for most of this zone.
Bottom Line: Spring will be unseasonably mild in this zone with average springtime precipitation in all areas except New Mexico, where a drier-than-normal spring is predicted.
Zone 6 – Northwest
In the Northwestern States, spring starts out chilly, but dry. And this pattern dominates much of the season. April showers may not be as plentiful here, but there are some unsettled days predicted. Easter should be pleasant and May looks fair and cool.
Bottom Line: Near-normal springtime temps with average rainfall.
Zone 7 – Southwest
Fair weather is on tap for much of the spring in the Southwest, with a few pockets of unsettled conditions throughout April and May. One strong disturbance arrives mid-May and brings windy conditions to the Pacific Coast. We never thought we’d say this but this region could use a break from wet weather.
Bottom Line: Mild and dry conditions in Arizona and Utah; rest of the zone will experience warm temps with average springtime precipitation.
Looking for the Canadian forecast? See the Spring 2017 Outlook for the Canada here.