Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Agriculture

February 28, 2014

Winter likely to keep a frigid grip on Indiana into late March

WEST LAFAYETTE - Despite a couple of recent mild weather days that made us think spring could be near, the Indiana State Climate Office says winter isn’t going away anytime soon.

While it isn’t abnormal in Indiana for snow and cold temperatures to linger into mid-March, current weather models suggest spring weather might not move in until even later.

“A few days with temperatures in the 50s and 60s might have led us to believe spring is right around the corner,” said Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist for the Indiana State Climate Office based at Purdue University.

“Not so fast,” he quickly added. “The snow and cold of winter usually continues into the first half of March. Based on the latest weather outlook, it could even persist late into the month.”

Monthly and seasonal weather outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center show a colder-than-normal, but mostly dry start to March. The cold trend is likely to continue throughout the month, but forecasters are less certain about precipitation later in March.

Moving on to spring, the outlook calls for a slight chance of a colder-than-normal spring in northern Indiana and wetter-than-normal conditions in the southern part of the state.

Early March temperatures in Indiana typically range from 40 degrees in the north to 50 degrees in the south and increase toward the end of the month to a range of mid-50s in the north to the mid-60s in the south. March precipitation normally varies from about 2.5 inches in far northern Indiana to about 4.2 inches in the far southwest.

If winter weather sticks around later than normal, farmers antsy to start planting their corn and soybean crops might have to wait a little bit longer for optimal planting conditions, including soil temperatures of at least 50 degrees at seeding depth.

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