Joe’s Weather World: How our spring weather is changing (THU-3/5)

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Today will be a windy day in the region…and this weekend the winds will be going all weekend long. The weather though will remain dry through later Sunday night…as has been the case for awhile it seems.

It’s no secret that there hasn’t been a lot to talk about on the weathercasts for the last 5-10 days it seems…and that’s where I have to work a bit harder for you to tell you things that you can’t see anywhere else. Anyone can show temperatures…blah blah blah…but when the weather is quiet for days on end…it makes my job more challenging.

That’s part of the reason for my segment “What Your Weather App Can’t Tell You”. I try and tell you about things that you may not readily see on your weather app! Actually the idea came out of a meeting years ago…and seemed to be the perfect companion to the weather blog.

So today we’ll dive into some climatology..and talk about how spring weather has trended in the last 50 years or so…and it’s changing.



Today: Windy and sunny with gusts to 30-35 MPH. Highs in the upper 50s

Tonight: Decreasing winds and colder with lows in the upper 20s

Tomorrow: Nice but a pinch cooler with highs in the mid 50s

This weekend: Clouds and sun. Windy again…gusts to 35 MPH+. Warmer too with highs in the mid 60s Saturday and upper 60s Sunday. Rain arrives later Sunday night into Monday.



I’ll dive more into the Monday rain maker in tomorrow’s blog…it will be a later in the morning blog…probably towards lunch depending on how my schedule goes in the morning.

So I wanted this blog to talk about climate a bit. There was some interesting stuff that crossed my emails over the past couple of days…and it regards how our spring weather has been changing. I’ve contrasted the tremendous difference on the air and on the blog between what happened last year and this year. A cold March start last year…and a warmer March start this year. Those types of switcheroos aren’t that unusual (from year to year). When looking at longer term trends though we have to have a broader picture.

The folks at Climate Central sent me some interesting data about how the weather has warmed during the Spring season. For the purpose of this discussion…spring will be defined as meteorological spring…March, April and May. The trends over the past 50 years of data are for a warmer KC region.

Take a look at this…how our temperatures have overall warmed up in the last 50 years or so…

Spring temperature trends.

That’s roughly a 1° warming over the past 50 years.

This has manifested itself in many ways….one way is the increase in overall above average days in KC during the spring season. There has been a net increase of 5 days compared to the early part of the data in above average days.

That actually is pretty significant.

Another way of looking at this is how the average date of the last freeze has changed in that same time period.

We’ve seen roughly a 3 day swing to an earlier last freeze in KC over the past 50 or so years.

and we’re not alone.

Nationwide there has been a warming of the Spring season…for the vast part of the country except the upper Midwest. This warming is most apparent in the southwest and through the eastern US.

There are many ways this manifests itself. In some ways good I guess and in some ways bad. A good way is that many hate the winter weather and the winter cold and you may be able to get out in the garden quicker. There are probably other good ways as well.

With this trend of warmer Spring days…we are noticing an earlier spring “green-up” around the country in many areas. A trend that should be noticeable this March over the coming weeks especially with the warmer weather that will linger for the next two weeks or so. We can actually show this to you by looking at the data from the National Phenology Center. They monitor the 1st “leaf-out”of the spring and for areas, especially south of KC…the leaf-out is coming earlier and earlier.

The green tinted areas show where the leaf-out is coming earlier. Interestingly there is quite a bit of brown (showing a delayed leafout) across the upper Midwest and even as close to us as northern MO.

Notice though the earlier and earlier leaf-outs in the west and towards the Appalachian region back east.

This earlier leaf-out combined with the increase in above average days means something else…more allergies. We’re seeing an early tree pollen release…not terrible yet, but getting worse. Yesterday I showed the allergy report…indicating tree pollens showing up. This weekend with the strong winds…tree pollens from the south will be blowing up towards KC. So I would expect a jump in the counts over the weekend.

Other ways that the warming Spring weather alters things is that we’ll see an increase in pests/bugs. Those things typically like warmer weather…so they come out earlier and have more opportunities to reproduce. Sometimes our fruit trees will start coming out of hibernation early…with the warm temperatures…then get zapped with a late hard freeze. This happened back in 2007 I think. We had very mild conditions in March and then temperatures tumbled in early April…into the teens for lows. A lot of fruit trees in the area and flowers got zapped good from that. If I remember correctly the rose bushes in Loose Park were almost wiped out.

As I mentioned this week already…we’re going to have an above average month for temperatures. These next 10 days+ will trend mild to warm overall. We’ll see if there is another shoe to drop for the end of the month. When you’re this mild for days on end…there typically is a cold shot lurking at some point.

Yesterday was a great day for a sunset. I got a ton of great pictures…including this one from Connie Caputo-Belcher down towards the River Market


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