March has arrived, but spring is still weeks away. York County can expect to keep shoveling, plowing and missing school as winter drags to a bitter end.
March has arrived, but spring is still weeks away. York County can expect to keep shoveling, plowing and missing school as winter drags to a bitter end. (York Dispatch staff photos)

March is 31 days of teasing and reward, punishment and promises. It's one of the most volatile months for its wild weather swings.

"March is a cruel month," said Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather in State College. "We typically get a taste of spring during the month of March, but Old Man Winter is not ready to leave yet."

There are "wild temperature swings" in March, and they can come with snow, particularly in the first half of the month.

The normal amount of snow for the York area for the month of March is 5 inches. For the beginning of the month, normal temperatures are highs in the upper 40s and lows in the upper 20s. By the end of the month, normal highs are around 60, with nighttime lows in the mid-30s, Kines said.

'Normal': But as an East Coast weatherman this year, Kines is inclined to add disclaimers to any talk of what is "normal."

"Last year, March was about 5 degrees below normal, temperature-wise, and we had 5 inches of snow on the 25th," he said. "Of course, then two weeks later it was close to 90 (degrees)."

But "up" hasn't been the mercury's trending direction this year.

February was 8.5 degrees below normal overall, "which is very significant," Kines said. For the York area, February norms are highs in the lower 40s and lows in the lower 20s.

"I keep telling people, 'It can't get worse,'" he said. "I think we've hit rock bottom here, and it can only get better."

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, March 2014's average temperature for the York area will be 38 degrees, which it says is 2 degrees below normal. It calls for average precipitation of 3 inches, which it says is average.

According to AccuWeather's extended forecast, temperatures in the York area should reach the 40s and 50s by the end of this week and stay there until the end of the month.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.