New Castle News


March 20, 2012

Mild winter gives way to warm start of spring

NEW CASTLE — All winter long, we kept waiting for reality to set in.

Week after week of relatively mild temperatures and minimal snow suggested bad things were just around the corner. After all, these things have a way of evening out.

But they never did. And with spring’s arrival this week, any opportunity for those feared days of reckoning are fading rapidly.

In fact, this week’s forecast is calling for record high temperatures near 80. This is June weather, not March.

Of course, weather in western Pennsylvania is notorious for its variability. And while warm spells or cold snaps are used to either defend or debunk global warming scenarios, they do nothing of the sort. The potential for out-of-the-ordinary temperatures or other weather conditions always exists, and these short-term anomalies have nothing to do with any long-term climate change.

Instead, they’re more likely attributable to shifts in the jet stream or alterations in ocean currents than they are the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Arguments for global warming point to sustained increases in rising average planetary temperatures, not occasional hot spells.

Nevertheless, unless you enjoy skiing, sledding and paying heating bills, the winter of 2011-12 has been a remarkably pleasant one. And as spring officially begins, the string of above-normal temperatures appears to be determined to persist.

Let’s just hope this isn’t a harbinger of a record-hot summer. Temperatures have to return to normal at some point, don’t they?

Anyway, what we think of the weather — or hope it will be — doesn’t matter. It will come of its own volition.

So our best advice is to get out and enjoy these days. Perhaps they will continue for weeks, or maybe the weather will turn colder quickly. For now, there are flowers and blossoms to enjoy and comfortable temperatures to embrace. Make the most of them.

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