East Coast Warmth to Put a Garden Stake in Heart of U.S. Winter

By Brian K. Sullivan | March 2, 2016

If you live in the eastern U.S., it’s almost time to put that snow shovel away and get out the gardening tools.

After a slight hiccup later this week – which could bring a little sleet and even a few snowflakes – the warmth that has dried out the West Coast and drought-stricken California during most of February will shift east.

Temperatures may reach 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) above normal by mid-month from the Midwest to the Atlantic, and even higher across the Great Lakes and parts of Ontario and Quebec, said Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

“The pattern is going to change,” said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Low pressure will build along the West Coast, boosting the chances for rain and snow to fall from Washington to California, at least through mid-March, CWG predicts.
California Blessing

“Well, it looks like they are going to get hosed down this weekend,” Carolan said. “This is a blessing for California.” Almost the entire state is abnormally dry or in some stage of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In the East, the odds of appreciable snow drop. While that’s partly because it’s March, just remember: The month is capable of producing some good snowstorms. After all, at this time last year there wasn’t much bare ground in Boston.

New York City could see 64 next week, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Boston may make the 60s, too, along with Cincinnati, Chicago and Minneapolis. Washington, Philadelphia and St. Louis might reach the 70s, MDA said.

That’s enough to put a garden stake through the heart of winter. Not that winter has had much of a bite, especially along the East Coast. New York’s Central Park had 11 days above 50 in February and four at 60 or better. While the snowfall total is higher than normal for the season, it was 5.2 inches (13 centimeters) below average since Feb. 1, according to the National Weather Service.

Almost all of New York’s snow, 26.6 inches out of 31.2, came from a Jan. 23 storm.

The rest of the Northeast has done pretty well this season, too, unless you like to ski.

“Boston is closing in on at least its second-mildest winter on record,” Carolan said.

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