Don't like today's temperatures? Well you certainly won't have to wait very long for a change! March is often one of the most extreme months of the year when it comes to high and low temperatures in our neck of the woods...and it looks like this week will be no exception. A glance at today's five-day forecast reveals high temperatures that may push the 60-degree mark on Tuesday....followed by low temperatures that may approach the "big goose egg" by Friday morning. Crazy as that may sound, it really is par for the course as we enter the transition period between winter and spring.
Aside from a hurricane, basically anything is possible during the month of March. Long time residents of the Twin Tiers will most certainly recall the "Blizzard of '93" which dumped up to two feet of snow with hurricane force wind gusts across much of the region...a combination of snow and wind that has yet to be challenged by any storm since. The Blizzard was immediately followed by record-setting low temperatures that reached the teens below zero in some spots...impressive numbers for the dead of winter, let alone in March! The Blizzard combined with several less significant snowstorms to deem March 1993 one of the snowiest months this area has ever seen with more than 30" measured at the Binghamton Airport. Snow depths in the higher elevations of Cortland and Chenango Counties exceeded 50" for a time.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, our area experienced a record-breaking heat wave in late March 1998 that sent the mercury soaring to near 90 degrees in many valley locations on the last two days of the month! Theoretically it is actually easier to achieve such toasty temperatures during the month of March than it is during the middle of summer due to the lack of vegetation. During the late spring and summer months, trees and shrubs release moisture into the air...a process known as evapotranspiration...and this process actually prevents the air from warming to its full potential. Before the spring "leaf out" occurs evapotranspiration is virtually non-existent, and on sunny days with light winds the result can be temperatures that reach surprisingly high levels....in some cases more than 10 or 15 degrees higher than what computer models might suggest! Trust me, I've learned this the hard way...
So what will the rest of March 2009 deliver to the Twin Tiers? Time will only tell. But if the next five days are any indication, we could be in for a wild ride ahead.