March Preview

An early taste of March has descended on central Missouri today. Caught between two lows along an undulating jet stream, we are enjoying a stiff, northeast breeze with a mix of cold rain and wet snow; the temperature has settled in the mid thirties (F).

Such chilly, gray, damp weather is typical of late winter and early spring as an unsettled jet stream directs Pacific storms across the Heartland. This afternoon, a storm centered over Ohio is sweeping cold air down from the Great Lakes while a more potent system, centered over Oklahoma, is drawing copious Gulf moisture up from the south. Just north of the collision zone, we won't get as much precipitation as areas to our south and east, where up to five inches of rain is expected.

All of this precipitation will, of course, exacerbate flooding from recent heavy snows and leave a sloppy landscape, coated with mud and slush. At our latitude, the sun angle is still too low to ignite heavy thunderstorms; rather, we will be treated to periods of "a wintery mix" that keep spring fever at bay until April. On the bright side, the soggy fields and seasonal lakes are magnets for migrating waterfowl, the frequent rains will thaw the soil and green the lawns, early bulb plants will soon adorn the flower beds and the frenzied calls of peepers and chorus frogs will echo across the wetlands.