Niagara Gazette

Columns

March 19, 2014

BRADBERRY: Desperately seeking signs of spring, PLEASE!

Niagara Gazette — Finally, at this long winter’s end comes spring. But unlike Carl Sandburg’s fog, arriving silently “on little cat feet”, spring can “Come in like a lion and go out like a lamb”, so say some.

But, as the good folks over at the Farmer’s Almanac put it, “this saying seems be to more of a rhyme rather than a true weather predictor,” like some of the other familiar March weather lore we may have heard as we were growing up, remember?:

• A dry March and a wet May? Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.

• As it rains in March so it rains in June.

• March winds and April showers? Bring forth May flowers.

I guess there is a little bit of a weather forecaster in all of us, but in an effort to de-bunk some of the myth and lore that surrounds any discussion about the wildly changing weather, if not the climate, meteorologists offer a more measured explanation for the proverbial saying.

According to Southern Idaho weatherman, Brian Neudroff, “From a meteorological perspective, there’s little truth behind this saying, as many locations go from February into March with fierce and active winter weather. But by the end of March, the weather usually is warmer and more spring-like. The truth is, “in like a lion, out like a lamb” has more to do with astronomy than meteorology.

Neudroff claims “the old folklore has to do with the constellations of Leo the Lion and Aries the Ram (or lamb)”. Weather permitting, tonight, look above the western horizon and you’ll see the dim stars that make up Aries. Says Neudroff, “If you turn around and look east at almost the same height above the horizon, you will see the constellation Leo. Its stars form a sort of backwards question mark. So the Lion is rising in the east in early March, meaning the month is coming in “like a lion.”

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