Winter Shows No Signs of Leaving on First Day of Spring

Snow in April
A sinister weather pattern known as a "Rex Block" means it's going to stay cold in the Northeast, and may even snow in April Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

It’s the first day of spring, and yet the callously unsurpassable monstrosity that is this winter isn’t letting up, at least not in the Northeast. Why—and what have we done to deserve this?

The answer hinges on a sinister weather pattern known as a “Rex Block,” which involves high- and low-pressure centers that combine to “block,” or hold in place, the weather patterns that are already in effect. As Slate’s Eric Holthaus notes, blocking patterns tend toward “fickle behavior,” meaning “they could stay in place for three days or 13 days (or more).”

“It might become the new Polar Vortex,” WeatherWorks meteorologist Ken Elliott told Newsweek, adding that we’ve been in a block pattern all winter. “All it really does is slow progressions down. Blocks are notorious for being strong and not wanting to break down. Once they’re in place, they don’t go away any time soon really.”

That means that—yes—whatever the calendar says, winter isn’t quite ready to release its stranglehold grip on the Northeast. Despite some warmer temperatures today and this weekend, frigid air will reappear early next week and perhaps at the start of April. According to Elliott, temperatures will be at least 15 degrees below normal.

It also means that snow in April is entirely plausible.

“Theres certainly a better than average chance for April snow,” Elliott said. “Theres almost more of a chance of snow the first 10 days of April than the last couple days of March.”

As we’ve previously reported, this winter has already tilted dangerously close to snowfall records in New York City.

But there’s good news. “Eventually summer will come,” Holthaus reports in his Slate analysis. Maybe. We’re skeptical.