CLEVELAND - "The month of March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."
This phrase has its origins with the constellations Leo, the Lion, and Aries, the ram or lamb. It has to do with the relative positions of these constellations in the sky at the beginning and end of the month. Over time, it has come to loosely describe the weather during this transitional month here in the United States and in Europe.
March in Ohio is often snowy. We average a good 10 inches in Cleveland, 8 inches in Akron & Canton and 7 inches in Mansfield. Cold air outbreaks are common normally during the month of March, especially during the first two weeks.
If you are expecting a major cold air outbreak to roar across Northern Ohio in March, or a major winter storm to blast through the state during March, you will likely be disappointed. There is very little to suggest a change in our winter weather patterns so far.
In fact, we are forecasting some very cold air to try and drive southward into Ohio. But, strong high pressure over the southeast will likely keep mild air moving north into the state that will at least modify the coldest air and make it warmer as it moves over us. It will also assist in pushing the coldest air quickly east and out to sea
For every cold day in March this year, I would expect at least 2 days of warmer than normal temperatures. Storm tracks promise to take low pressure centers through the Central and Western Great Lakes, meaning surges of warm air will be common for us in March, with rain showers the main threat.
In fact, I do believe March precipitation will average above normal. But, the majority of the precipitation will be rain. We will see some snow in March, but only on the back side of cold fronts that first bring the area lots of mild air and rain.
I still believe we will see less than average snowfall for the month. Of course, there is always that wild card: one quick-hitting winter storm traveling northeast along the Ohio River could gather just enough cold behind it to bring in a single event of 4 to 8 inches of snow. This certainly looks like the wild card this March.