Dave Murray’s Spring 2012 Long Range Forecast
It’s been a tough battle with the winter season, a forecasting nightmare in the long and short term. And the wild swings are on set to continue for the spring season. I will try to answer the weather questions and also focus on flooding and, after the wicked weather we saw last year, what the spring severe storm season will bring. Of course, we look at the good side too: the easing of temperatures, the start of baseball, and getting the garden season up and running.
This is looking like a very interesting month of weather for the St. Louis area. The key feature will be the tail end of a double "la Nina", a pattern that has not played out well this winter season. But that does not mean the "la Nina" is not in place. Why am I interested in this? The analogs would suggest that fading la Nina's in March means more lion than lamb weather. But it is also March and that means a battle in temperatures. Yes, there will be some very pleasant days this March as spring flexes the muscles. But there continues to be lots of cold air banked to the north and the March patterns will allow some very cold air to drop over the middle of the nation. So overall, I think the month looks chilly with temperatures average a little below normal and the coldest air over the first 15 days of the month. It gets better for the second half with some of the cold snaps. I'm real concerned about the blooms on the trees, especially apples and peaches, but the chill will cut the bug population and slow the pollen season.
Now with the battle of temperature that always means a very active storm pattern that will race over the nation. St. Louis will be right in the middle of the action. Yes, we can get snow. In fact our record 24 hour snow occurred in late March. I don't see anything like that happening but we should see a shot or two at accumulating snow in March. March can also bring some impressive rains and thunderstorms. Some severe weather is possible and rainfall will be above average for the month.
In March, we start to get concerned about the rivers. They will run high but flooding should stay on the minor side in the month of March.
Things to look for in the month of March
- The red maples begin to bloom
- Ticks start to appear and in the middle of the month
- The purple martins arrive
Major Points For March
- Active and fast moving weather pattern resulting in wild temperature swings
- A month that will bring active storms. Expecting some snow and impressive rains and some severe thunderstorms
- Rainfall amounts running little above average but the rivers should hold. Only minor flooding expected in March
April is one of the great weather months of the year. Variety is king all month long as winter really starts to lose its hold on the atmosphere and the spring season takes control. Interesting variety because almost anything can happen.: snow, rain, flooding, thunderstorms, tornadoes and wild temperature swings. Never a dull moment and it's a month that can really give us fits in the long range and the short range. But that's what the weather biz is all about. So, let's move forward and get some ideas for the month of April.
The month of April is the true swing month when it comes to weather here in St. Louis. Winter weather fades quickly and we start the jump into a much warmer overall weather pattern. The trees, grass, and flowers kick into gear but its also a month for wicked storms and an increase in flood potential. "La Nina" should be out of the picture by the time April rolls around. That means temperatures will jump into that spring-time pattern with a fair share of very pleasant days. We will notice the nights are starting to feel pretty good too. Last April was slow and cold. Not this year. Get the gardens going with temperatures running above average, especially the second half of the month.
On to moisture, the month will bring some temperature swings but not the type of swings we are use too in April. As a result we should see a back-off of frequent and strong thunderstorms. The dead "la Nina" will mean a weaker severe storm and tornado month, not an April of mayhem like last year. However that does not mean we escape the entire month. I'm expecting 2 to 3 strong to severe weather events this April. I just don't see the crazy stuff we saw last year. Rainfall will be near to a little above average.
April tends to be a wet month but the lack of extremes should keep the rivers in check. There will be some flash flooding with the waves of strong storms but thinking the major rivers will stay in the minor to moderate flooding category for the month of April.
Things to look for in the month of April
- Tent caterpillars start to appear
- Hummingbirds return
- Robins and other birds start to build their nests
Major Points For April
- A fast spring warm up and the gardening season goes full steam ahead
- Limited 2 to 3 strong to severe weather events but not the intense and widespread action of last April.
- Rainfall near to a little above average but the major rivers stay in pretty good shap
May is also a month that brings wild weather to St. Louis but its different from April. In May, we start to lift out of spring and get into the summer season. So between April and may we push over three seasons: winter, spring and summer. As a result, May has a real bad-boy image, a rock and roll month known for severe thunderstorms. But its also a month that can bring some great weather to be outside and enjoy what St. Louis is all about. Lets take a look at the month of May for St. Louis.
The bad-boy image of may will hold true to form this year with more than its fair-share of rock and roll weather. The set up will include some monster swings in temperatures; some shots of colder air along with surges of mild to warm from the south. And of course what will drive those swings will be a stormy weather pattern. So temperatures will ride the see-saw. Yes plenty of great days and hot weather will be limited at best. But the ideas of a blackberry winter will once again be on the table with a strong cold snap around the 11th of May. Temperatures will end up a little below average.
For moisture, the active storm track right through the middle of the nation will be the big player. May is typically a wet month and it will not disappoint with rainfall running above average for the month. Look for a very wet may ahead with 5 to 6 strong to severe weather outbreaks. With this active pattern, not only do we watch for the big stuff: high winds, hail and possible tornadoes, but flash flooding goes to the head of the class. With several strong events, big river flooding will also be a major concern in this month of May
Things to look for in the month of May
Watch for lightning bugs or fireflies on warm eveningsChigger season begins and runs thru SeptemberCoyote pups begin to emerge from their dens
Major Points For May
- Spring rock and roll weather with 5 to 6 strong to severe weather events
- See-saw temperatures with a cold snap around the 11th
- Flash flooding and large scale river flooding are a concern
The Spring 2012 Summary
Just as the winter season has been interesting and weird so will this up-coming spring in St. Louis. The lack of cold in the winter making up for some lost time in March and for about half of April so expect some wild temperature swings over the next three months ahead. Some snow possible in March with the focus on rain and thunderstorms in April and May. This will be a season to keep up to date on the short term forecast. But the spring season will also bring some wonderful weather, so give yourself some time to get our an enjoy the St. Louis area because summer will soon be knocking on the door....but that's for my next long range forecast.