The persistence of below-normal temperatures since the end of January has been amazing, if not irritating, but the government did say Tuesday it sees signs that the seasons actually will change.

With the month in its final hours, the February-March period is going to finish with an average temperature barely above freezing in Philadelphia, at 32.8, about 7 degrees below normal.

In the 142 years of recordkeeping, this will become the sixth-coldest such period, and the coldest since 1978, No. 5 on the list.

Three of the top 5 were in the 19th century; the other was 1934.

As for snow, 22.6 inches of snow fell in February and March this year,  about what falls typically in an entire winter. The seasonal total stands at 27.

As we've noted, the simplified version of what's behind all this is a persistent pattern of high pressure, or ridge in the western North American, and lower pressure, or trough in the East.

At long last, however, the pattern looks to break in April, according to the government's Climate Prediction Center.

Its updated outlook for April backs off on some of the cold foreseen in the outlook at issued in mid-March. It sees a let-up in the persistent winter pattern, with some troughing in the West.

Philadelphia is in the "equal chance" for below- or above-normal temperatures, but at least it's out of the blue.

The two-week outlook has  the Philadelphia region tantalizingly close to the area favored for above-normal temperatures.

In the shorter term, temperatures could make a run at 70 on Friday, but it also might rain. But we see no mention of snow.