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                   Saturday, March 1, 2008 - 9:41AM

Happy meteorological spring!

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Not much to say today other than to acknowledge the arrival of what marks the 'beginning of the end' date for winter, and the start of 'true' storm observing season when deep convection will start appearing on an increasingly regular basis. Always a good time of year to see - it makes me feel like I've conquered the winter. (While 'official' spring is based on the equinox, or the point at which the earth's tilt is 'halfway' between solstices, 'meteorological spring' (which begins on March 1) marks the climatological start of the transition from winter to summer. Meteorological spring is when temperatures begin to warm, precipitation begins to increase and storms and severe weather begin to ramp up.) Tomorrow's high will approach 60F, at which time I will be making good on my intentions of getting out and hiking more when warmer weather gets here. Long-range model ensembles still show a fairly cold pattern persisting for us for the next week or so, so any real celebration of spring's arrival will probably need to wait until later in the month. Snow is even back in our forecast for next week.

Event prospects for the coming days look good if you're in the southern US, but I doubt that there will even be lightning anywhere close to where I would want to drive from here. However, storm observers in Oklahoma and Texas should be able to dust off their cameras and gear tomorrow.

Here's what I look forward to when this time of year rolls around. This is a shot from last March 14, one of the first big thunderstorm days in West Virginia last spring.

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