CLEVELAND - With each drip from your friendly neighborhood icicle, the days get longer.
With every buzzard spotted in Hinckley, our spring season gets a little closer.
With each ray of sunshine, more flowers burst into bloom.
And with each shrinking iceberg on Lake Erie, severe weather season looms closer as well.
Spring often brings northern Ohio's most volatile weather. Bouts of cold air from the north slide down from Canada and battle with surges of warm air from the Gulf of Mexico. And in between, you get thunderstorms.
This year, spring in northern Ohio looks to be a continuation of winter, at least into mid-April. Frequent visits from low pressure systems will keep our weather wet for the first half of the season. And behind each cold front, expect a shot of chilly air for several days. Although mild air will try to settle in, it will have trouble staying for more than just a couple of days at a time. Bottom line: The first half of spring will be cooler and wet.
As for severe thunderstorms, the past few springs have been quiet for our area. Cooler air over the Great Lakes diverted most of the storms south and east away from the Buckeye state. The result was relatively few severe weather outbreaks. But this year looks different.
The March jet stream (upper-level steering winds) pulled frequent winter storms through Ohio. This pattern is expected to continue through spring. Frequent cold snaps across the northern plains should fight with warmer air to our south to produce big thunderstorms, especially in May and June.
On top of that, upper level winds are expected to converge over the Great Lakes to make our storms even bigger through those two months. As a result, the focus for severe weather in May and June should shift from the Great Plains eastward into lower Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Bottom line: The second half of spring is be warm and stormy.
For spring 2013, expect wild swings of warm and cold, especially through April and an above average amount of thunderstorms into June.