CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The official start of spring is often timed down to the minute. But when you talk to the folks at the National Weather Service, figuring all of the computations on the alignment of planets and the move is a tad more complicated than they would like.
“We let all the astronomers figure out that math,” said Meteorologist Maura Casey at the National Weather Service. “In Meteorology, we tend to keep it a little simpler. We just say winter is December first through the end of February.”
Dividing the calendar into four seasons by month does keep it simple, but not always accurate, spring time snowfall is a near constant in our region of the country.
“We can obviously have snow well into March, April, and in some cases May,” said Casey. “It’s a little arbitrary, but it makes people feel better to say spring has started.”
Although the arrival of spring creates warm and fuzzy feelings, in reality the winter of 2018-19 didn’t carry much of a punch. Casey in fact put among the bottom ten for snowfall and winter like conditions.
“Pretty much the entire state was above average temperature and precipitation, and then below average snowfall,” she explained. “In fact Parkersburg ended up having a record wet winter with almost 16 inches of rainfall.”
Other cities also came close to record rainfall for the three month period. Weather patters kept the state too warm to sustain any extended period of snow or even cold weather.
“December was pretty warm, January ended up being around average–but that’s just because it ended with the one good cold snap we had all winter,” Casey said. “We were warm and wet for most of February, kind of like last year.”
Winter may not be done yet. Casey expected snow in the forecast for the mountains and the western lowlands by Friday.
“Don’t put away your heavy coat just yet,” she laughed.