When early March rolls around many people think spring. Admittedly, I’m in the group that gets a bit over anxious for warmer days. I’m thinking warm breezes, morel mushrooms and crappie.
Sometimes the reality is snow and ice, or other nasty weather as the year’s third month begins. It is not unusual to find the ground covered with some of the heaviest snows of the winter in March. The good news is the white stuff usually doesn’t stick around very long.
Weather Channel statistics show the average daily high temperature in southern Indiana during March is 55 with a nighttime low of 35. That is reason for optimism as that is about 10 degrees warmer than the February numbers. And the second half of the month statistically, the high temperatures should be well into the 60’s.
There’s an old saying, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb,” or if March comes in like a lamb (nice weather), it will go out like a lion (bad). I don’t know that anyone has researched the accuracy of the saying, but stats show the end of the month is warmer than the start.
This year’s extended weather forecast is for a lamb start of the month. I don’t remember all of the bad March storms in recent years or whether or not the months started as lambs or lions. However, there have been a number storms that have found there way between those longer and warmer days I look forward to in March.
Being a month of significant weather change, most anything can happen, and frequently does. At the end of the month in 1987 (March 30) a heavy snow blanketed most of the Ohio River Valley, and a year later, a two-inch glaze of ice covered much of the same area.
In 1990 on March 10, a warm front produced a number of storms, including damaging 65 mile per hour winds in Kentucky, and back on March 21, 1952, a series of tornados killed 343 people, including a number in the Bluegrass state.
It also was during March in 1913 and 1936 when rains and melting snow caused significant river flooding throughout the Ohio River valley.
Hopefully, this year we will have uneventful March weather. Shortly, the crocus will appear and not far behind will be the daffodil. Those hardy, beautiful yellow flowers first bloom on the south side of the hill, and are a pleasant reminder than spring is at hand. The morel mushrooms can’t be far behind. I’ve found morels as early as the last week in March, but it usually is the second week in April before they appear in sizable numbers.
As nice days begin to appear, it is time to get out for a hike, fishing for suckers, sauger and crappie, and a good time to scout for turkeys.
Who originated the old saying about March and the lion and lamb, no one seems to know. There also is a poem on the subject, and the author also is unknown.