LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Today, March 20th, marks the start of the spring season, despite the wintry weather gripping most of the nation.
Spring officially began at 6:02 am as the Earth's axis was straight vertically and the sun was line up directly over the equator. This means that night and day are roughly equal on this date. The Northern Hemisphere will continue to tilt toward the sun, leading warmer weather from increasing solar energy.
Weather associated with each season does not always arrive by the start of the season, according to News 19 Meteorologist Alex Kirchner. "This year spring starts with a high of 20, which is 26 degrees below average. With the wind chill factor, conditions will feel a lot more like winter than spring. The opposite was true just last year, with a summer-like high of 74, or 28 degrees above average", says Kirchner.
Alex adds that it is not uncommon for snow to be on the ground at the start of spring. March receives seven inches of snow on average.
According to the National Weather Service, this could be one of the top ten coldest first days of spring. A high of 20 degrees would tie 2013 with 1965 and 1951 as the 3rd coldest start to Spring. Last year, the high of 74 was one degree shy of tying the warmest 1st day of spring, set on March 21, 1911.
The last measurable snowfall occurs in early spring, usually before April 4th, though traces of snow can linger as late as April 18th. The last frost typically takes until after April 26th to leave La Crosse, though favorable cold spots in low lying areas of the Coulee Region are not done with frost until late May.
In particular for this spring, cooler than average weather will stick around through the end of March, then warmer than average weather may kick in through June, based off of the latest long range outlook from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. The same outlook has precipitation staying near or above average this spring.
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