For a second consecutive day winds past 50 mph were measured in the region Saturday, kicked off by another potent front that incited a snow squall in parts of Bucks and Montgomery Counties and shook out snowflakes elsewhere.
And for the second consecutive week, winter and spring are about to engage in another vigorous exchange of volleys, with temperatures making a run at 60 Tuesday, and snow and ice possibly making a reappearance late in the workweek.
“The battle has begun,” said Renee Duff, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc., noting this is a classic example of what happens in late February, when the lengthening days and stronger sun embolden springlike warmth to surge northward and challenge the remains of winter.
Winds gusted to 53 mph at Northeast Philadelphia Airport on Saturday afternoon, besting the 52 mph gusts measured there Friday morning, said Amanda Lee, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly.
Fortunately, only scattered power outages were reported Saturday, and that had to do with the fact that the deciduous trees aren’t yet weighted with green, said Jason Franklin, the meteorologist in charge of the Mount Holly office.
“If there were leaves, there would be more problems,” he said.
Behind the front, temperatures tumbled and were due to fall into the teens early Sunday and stay mostly in the 30s during the afternoon.
Another warm-up, though, is coming Monday, with temperatures possibly hitting 60 again by Tuesday with more rain. That would be followed by another cool-down and perhaps even some snow and ice or some unsightly mixed mess near the end of the week, Duff said, as a storm develops in the Southeast.
“We’ll have to keep an eye on it,” she said.
The government’s Climate Prediction Center’s outlook through March 5 has odds favoring below-normal temperatures for about 80% of the contiguous United States.
But expect about a 100% chance of continued jumpiness.
This time of year, the sun is warming surfaces here and elsewhere in the mid-latitudes in a hurry, in part because there isn’t much foliage on the ground to absorb solar energy, said Dave Dombek, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.
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Meanwhile, the upper air takes some time to cool down, he said. That creates instability: Warm air rises over cold air, setting off strong storms and generating those powerful fronts.
Franklin said that all the volatility does have one benefit, at least for him personally.
“It’s job security,” he said.