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March 5, 2009

Weather Watch


By MARK HANOK

Exactly as we predicted at the beginning of the month, it was one of the driest Februaries on record in Otsego County and throughout most of central and eastern New York. Thanks to the extreme upside-down temperature pattern with much warmer weather in Montana than in Georgia, and strong winds on Monday and Tuesday, an extremely dry weather pattern will be the theme for at least the next two to three weeks.

Although the arctic cold at the start of the month will be replaced by mild, spring like weather this weekend, we’ll get very little precipitation during the upcoming week - only some light mixed precipitation Thursday night and early Friday morning as a warm front moves through our region. The jet stream has been diving southeastward from central Canada, bring unseasonably cold air during the first four days of March.

However, we’ll get a major change in the upper-level wind pattern, with a zonal, west to east flow across the northern half of the nation.

A warm front will bring milder air as it crosses our area on Friday morning, with light snow, sleet, and rain - but we’ll be lucky to get more than a tenth of an inch of precipitation.

Partial sunshine will take over on Friday afternoon with highs in the mid- 40’s. An upper-level trough over the western Great Lakes will continue a mild southwesterly flow on Saturday, with partly sunny skies and highs in the low 50’s. As the low slides eastward on Sunday, northwesterly winds will bring cooler air, but we’ll only get back to normal for early March.

Along with variable cloudiness and intervals of sunshine with the chance of rain or snow showers, highs will be around 40 degrees. Skies will be partly sunny with highs from 40 to 45 degrees on Monday, then mostly sunny and 45 to 50 degrees on Tuesday. No return to arctic cold and no snowstorms anywhere in sight.

Mark Hanok is an Otegobased meteorologist.