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SPRING "OFFICIALLY" BEGINS....

The Spring Equinox is upon us, beginning at 10:33 am on Sunday. On the equinox, Earth’s two hemispheres receive the Sun’s rays about equally.

This - of course - doesn't mean it will immediately be spring and warm, but it does mean that we start trending toward warmer weather. That's because, after this date, the Northern Hemisphere begins to be tilted more toward the Sun, resulting in increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures.

Luckily, the winter hasn't been too crazy, but we know it can always hang on into April (or even May), well after the equinox occurs. Here's a look at the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI) for this season so far in the Upper Midwest:

You can see a lot of reds, oranges and reds indicating a mild, moderate, and average winter season. If you're wondering what this all means, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center says this - The question “How severe was this winter?” does not have a simple answer. At the very least, the severity of a winter is related to the intensity and persistence of cold weather, the amount of snow, and the amount and persistence of snow on the ground. The Accumulated Winter Season Index (AWSSI) was developed to objectively quantify and describe the relative severity of the winter season. Daily scores are calculated based on scores assigned to temperature, snowfall, and snow depth thresholds. The daily scores are accumulated through the winter season, allowing a running total of winter severity in the midst of a season as well as a final, cumulative value characterizing the full season. Accumulations of the temperature and snow components of the index are computed separately and then added together for the total index. This allows comparison of the relative contribution of each to the total score.

Here's a look at the Quad Cities AWSSI up close:

The Quad Cities is sitting in the "moderate" category, where it has been for much of the winter. This is due to above normal temperatures and below normal snowfall. Same can be said in Cedar Rapids, but with more snow on the season it's sitting in the "average" category:

For a comparison by the numbers - the Quad Cities has had 20.4" of snow this season, which is 13.5" below normal.

Cedar Rapids has had 22.5", which is 9.4" below normal. Temperatures in both locations have been running near/above normal for the winter.

Now as we look toward spring... our first few days will be mild. A ridge will be in place leading to warm conditions on Sunday and Monday:

We'll be in the 60s Sunday:

Pushing 70 on Monday:

It does appear that we still have a rollercoaster ride - with some cooler days tossed in - before we get fully into spring:

But generally it starts to get warmer from here!

RK

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