By Don Day, Jr., Meteorologist
The moniker “March Madness” is usually associated with the sport of basketball, however as we all know we can sometimes use that term to describe the weather in the month of March.
Just ask the folks in New England, the Great Lakes and areas along the east coast where summer like temperatures just a week ago were followed by wind, cold, snow and flooding. All of the UK (Scotland, Ireland and England) show record snow and cold last week with more on the way.
March is famous for its wild swings in the weather and for good reason. As we gain minutes a day of daylight as the Earth tilts back toward the sun the lower latitudes heat up while there is still a lot of cold air left in the high latitudes.
The increasing contrast in temperature between the lower and higher latitudes makes the jet stream stronger and more prone to storms. The amount of storm activity in March can vary from year to year, especially in La Nina or El Nino years.
The month of March in 2016 and 2017 was warmer and drier than normal for most of the U.S., however, the March of 2018 is showing signs of being very active/stormy for many.
Beef producers across the northern tier of the USA should be prepared for more cold and stormy weather. From the Pacific Northwest, eastward to the Northern Plains, Great Lakes and into New England, a series of storms will be likely over the next two weeks.
Across the central and southern Rockies and into the Southern Plains temperatures will be warmer than normal with only scant rain/snow chances through the next week to ten days. However, by the middle of March and into the end of the month, a period of stormy weather will hit the far west and Rockies.
Be prepared for a more typical March this year with lots of ups and downs and intense storm systems.