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For glad Spring has begun, And to the ardent sun The earth, long time so bleak, Turns a frost-bitten cheek. - Celia Thaxter, American poet (1835–94)

Well, it finally happens at 4:24 PM Monday afternoon. Spring begins with the vernal equinox, when the sun passes directly over the equator giving equal amounts of sunlight. Days have been steadily growing longer since the winter solstice and will continue to do so until the summer solstice in June when we experience our longest day.

I don't know about you, but as Celia mentioned in her verse, I'm ready to turn my frost bitten cheek on another winter!

Oh, and when I say we get equal amounts of sunshine, that's not a complete truth. Because the light rays from the Sun are bent by Earth’s atmosphere and the thick horizon air, it ensures at least 10 minutes more day than night on the equinox. (This is why the Sun appears squashed when it sets.) They are bent in such a way that we are actually able to see the Sunlight before it rises and after it sets.

And things are really screwy at the poles. Those adventurers who permanently inhabit the South Polar research station experience 24-hours of equinoctial sun. No trace of night, no sign of equality. Just the Sun fully up, going leftward along the horizon like a rolling ball.

At one time they tried growing sunflowers down there to see if they’d follow the Sun, and the poor plants rotated around and around until they strangled themselves. So sad.

When I was a kid, I remember trying to stand an egg on end because I heard the vernal equinox allowed that to happen. I knew I only had a minute to get the job done. Try as I might, the egg kept rolling over, I got frustrated with time running out and went to the fridge to try a different egg, the inept one on the counter rolled off and broke all over the floor. Mom just laughed. I was humiliated.

This egg folklore became popular in 1945 following an article in LIFE about the spring practice. “The origins of this myth are attributed to stories that the ancient Chinese would create displays of eggs standing on end during the first day of spring,” according to John Millis, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Anderson University in South Carolina. “The ancient Chinese celebrated the first day of spring about six weeks earlier than the equinox”—not just on the equinox itself. Whatever, as with most folklore, it’s only partly true. You should be able to balance an egg on its end on the equinox, but it’s possible to balance an egg on other days, too! That's assuming you have excellent balancing skills which I apparently do not!


If we see spring like temperatures this week it appears Wednesday is the day that has the most promise. If nothing else, the ridiculous cold of the weekend (especially Saturday's temperatures) are behind us. That leaves most of us with highs much of the coming week in the 40s and 50s. The exception is Wednesday when the south may squeeze out a 60 degree high. Here's what the GFS suggests. Models have been on again off again with this trend the last few days.

That warmth if it's realized, is quickly shut down Thursday as a cold front settles south and sets up a strong baroclinic boundary in Missouri and southern Illinois. To start the week this boundary is bouncing around my area acting as the focus for two precipitation chances. The first comes into play Tuesday late Tuesday afternoon or night. Any showers look to be on the light side with the SE half most favored for whatever falls.

Another wave arrives Wednesday night with another shot at showers. This one is handled differently by the EURO which is stronger and wetter. The GFS is much further south with the forcing and heavier precipitation. It is going to take another 24 hours for guidance to work out their struggles resolving the placement and intensity of energy. I suspect the EURO is too wet. For now here's the precipitation possibilities from the GFS and EURO through Thursday with the 2 systems combined. The bulk of what the EURO depicts comes Wednesday night.





Long term it remains to be seen if the GFS is right but it as I mentioned earlier it forces the storm track south of the region late this week and holds it there through the following week. It's week 1 temperature departures ending March 26th look like this.

Week 2 turns significantly colder, especially in my northern counties with departures like this March 26-April 3rd.

Along with the cold, the GFS indicates above normal precipitation over the next 16 days across much of the Midwest and Ohio Valley.

It will be interesting to see if snow will rear it's head at some point in the next 2 weeks. The GFS ensemble mean does show some indicating these amounts over the next 16 days.

Well, that's what I have for you on this vernal equinox day. If you see spring, tell it I say hey and it's time to turn that frost bitten cheek on winter. Get 'er done I say. Roll weather....TS


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