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What’s the Difference Between Meteorological and Astronomical Spring?

March 1st marks the beginning of meteorological spring, which marks the shift of focus by meteorologists from winter weather to severe weather and warming trends. Meteorological spring is considered a “transitional” season, bridging the gap between winter and summer. While the official first day of Spring is March 20th, the beginning of meteorological spring is based on the temperature rather than the earth’s rotation around the sun.

Temperature effects weather patterns, especially in the Midwest and Southern states — where cold air from Canada meets the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico — causing chaotic, unstable weather patterns that wreak havoc across the country.

Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

The spring is the most active time of year for tornadoes. It’s important to be Weather Aware every day. What does it mean to be Weather Aware? Simply put: be aware of the weather! Check the forecast throughout the day and watch your local news. Have a plan for severe weather warnings, know where to take shelter at work, program your NOAA weather radio, home and/or school. Above all, do NOT go outside when you are under a warning. Take cover in a central room without windows or a basement, ride out the storm and wait for the all clear.

Flash Floods

Even deadlier than straight line winds and flying debris from severe storms is that deluge of rainfall that can cause flash flooding in low lying areas. Flash flooding is extremely dangerous. Just six inches of moving water can knock a person off their feet and 12 inches can sweep a car off the road. It can also catch you unprepared in your home and cause potentially devastating damage to your house. Flash flood warnings should not be taken lightly, and remember to NEVER drive through standing water.

Heat

If you live in southern states, make sure you drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen when outdoors. Temperatures begin to rise significantly in April and May in states like Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Drought/Wildfires

Whenever weather patterns change, the threat of drought and dryness brings along the threat of wildfires. Wildfires are usually containable, but it is recommended that if you live in a neighborhood that is near heavily wooded areas that you have a comprehensive evacuation plan and always follow evacuation orders when they first come in. If you receive evacuation orders, leave immediately. By having a plan and a go-bag/emergency kit ready, you can meet any disaster head on.