The First Day of Spring in 2023 occurs on March 20, but it seems like Spring already arrived a month early!
Since February 20, afternoon highs have consistently climbed into the 70s and 80s, and that trend continued into the first week of March.
However, the temperature trend will flip in mid-March, and afternoon highs will stay in the 50s to mid 60s.
Rainfall will also increase through mid-March with as much as 2 inches of rainfall possible through Sunday.
What’s Driving the Change in Temperatures?
One of the teleconnections I monitor each week is the Pacific North American pattern (PNA), which as been steadily negative for late February into early March.
A negative PNA is associated with a dip in the jet stream for the Western U.S. and a ridge over the Southeast. As a result, heavy rain and snow has pummeled the West, but we experienced warm and relatively dry conditions here in Georgia for late February and early March.
Through mid-March, the PNA is forecast to trend more neutral and potentially more positive, bringing cold air back into the Southeast.
Another teleconnection I monitor is the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO).
In the past few weeks, the MJO has been moving into Phase 7 and will soon move into Phase 8 and back into Phase 1.
As a result, cooler temperatures are expected for the Southeast United States during Phase 8 and Phase 1 of the MJO.
Check out the temperature trend for next week: These numbers are not “locked in” to the forecast, but they give a guidance as to what we could expect for next week. Morning lows will dip to near freezing, and afternoon highs will struggle to climb out of the 50s -- a far cry from the upper 70s and low 80s we experienced last month!
Next week’s cold snap serves as a reminder that the Average Last Spring Freeze for Metro Atlanta is March 23, and a freeze has been recorded as late as April 25, 1910.
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