Mar 5, 2024 - News

Beware Atlanta: "Fake" spring is in the air

Data: Midwest Regional Climate Center; Map: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios
Data: Midwest Regional Climate Center; Map: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

Flowers are starting to bloom around Atlanta, and temperatures are hovering above what we expect to be the norm.

Why it matters: Any chance of a measurable snowfall in Atlanta is feeling even more remote, as March will generally be warmer and wetter than normal, National Weather Service forecaster Sam Marlow tells Axios Atlanta.

Flashback: The last snowfall in Atlanta that measured over an inch was on Jan. 17, 2018, when 2.3 inches was recorded at the airport, Marlow said.

What's next: This week's forecast is full of signs of spring. A chance of rain is expected nearly every day and high temperatures should hover between the mid 60s and lower 70s.

Yes, but: Atlanta's last spring frost usually hits around March 17, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, meaning those fresh blooms we're seeing could face some harsh cold.

Longest streak of cold winter days in Atlanta
Data: Climate Central; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The big picture: Our winters are getting warmer. The 2022-23 winter was the fourth warmest on record, Axios' Andrew Freedman and Emma Hurt previously reported.

  • Cold weather streaks in Atlanta have been getting eight days shorter on average over the past several decades, Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report from a new analysis from nonprofit research organization Climate Central.
  • Atlanta's longest cold snap since 1970 was in 1977 and lasted 38 days. Last year's longest streak was 13 days.

Between the lines: Climate Central states human-caused climate change is the culprit behind these early warm days in almost spring — and the later warm days in fall, Axios' Karri Peifer reports.

  • The shift means growing seasons are getting longer, increasing by 31 days in Atlanta from 1970 to 2020.
  • Plus, more warm days means a longer allergy season.

The bottom line: Spring is in the air, but don't put away those winter coats just yet. And stock up on your allergy meds.

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