Spring weather and beyond: what to expect

- What a winter it has been, from record warmth in November and December to record cold in February. January hosted a blizzard of historic proportions that crippled the tristate area.

It's been a season of extremes which was predicted last fall by meteorologist Steven DiMartino. How does he think it has all panned out?

"It's worked out pretty well. We had some close calls, to be honest with you," DiMartino, CEO of NYNJPA Weather, said. "A couple of storms that could've been far worse if we had a little bit better blocking."

Hold back from springing into the next season. Looks like it's going to be a bit of a wait.

"Now as we head towards spring, unfortunately it's going to take some time for spring to come because the arctic air isn't going to be leaving anytime soon," DiMartino said. "Especially for the beginning of March."

The delay is due to the late arrival of El Niño, which is the warming of the Pacific Ocean that eventually affects our weather patterns.

"See what happened in the beginning of winter was the stratosphere was very cold, and we had a very strong El Niño," DiMartino said. "That delayed winter a bit and, quite frankly, led to a December that seemed more like May. Now, on the flip side, because we have a very warm stratosphere and a weakening El Niño, we're going to have a delay in our spring pattern."

The folks over at NASA are also keeping a close eye on El Niño.

"Never have we been able to monitor these large scale global events with tremendous detail like we do with the satellites that we're flying," said Bill Patzert, a NASA climatologist. "This is providing a much deeper understanding and view of El Niño and so these are exciting times for climate scientists."

Now that we know the atmosphere is churning and that there will soon be a transition into a new season, what can we expect for this upcoming spring?

"So the first thing we are going to see is a lot of rain storms that are going to start to impact our area," DiMartino said. "Flooding is going to become an issue, I think, especially north and west of the city."

La Niña is expected to develop near the end of spring which means that a hotter weather pattern will arrive at the end of May into early June with more enhanced severe thunderstorm events.

"In the spring, I think you'll see a lot of volatility associated with the transition out of El Niño," Patzert said.

Does DiMartino think we will see a lot of records broken like we did this past winter?

"It's a possibility, but I would look more towards August for that type of scenario," DiMartino said. "Or even early September, rather than the middle of the summer in July."

Buckle your weather seat belt. That is right in the middle of hurricane season, which is also expected to be active with this predicted pattern.
 

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