Azaleas are in bloom. Furs are in the closet and mosquitoes are in the air.
Seems like everyone is talking about the mild winter weather and abundance of spring flowers.
Japanese magnolias popped out in January with daffodils fast behind them.
The 2016-2017 winter season is one for the record books, but not Macon’s warmest.
Climatologists track winter as December, January and February, not the calendar season between Dec. 21 and March 20.
Georgia climatologist Bill Murphey reports Macon’s winter average mean temperature of 54.5 degrees is the fifth-warmest winter in the city’s history.
“I don’t even think the robins went away,” Murphey said while discussing the mild conditions.
Three days before the official start of winter, Macon hit a record 81 degrees on Dec. 18.
“That was a scorcher,” Murphey said as he reviewed Macon’s data.
Just eight days before, on Dec. 10, the mercury plunged to 24 degrees. Just four days before that, the high was 74.
“Every one of these systems has a quick rebound,” Murphey noted.
Last weekend, the temperature hit the freezing mark on Sunday morning, but climbed to 66 that afternoon.
January’s high of 78 degrees set a record on Jan. 13 and Feb. 24 was the warmest ever recorded with 81 degrees.
With Tuesday’s high in the 70s, Macon marks a record 41 days of reaching 70 degrees or higher during those three months, besting the old record of 37 days in 1957.
Don’t pull out the shorts yet, the mercury will plunge to near freezing again Saturday morning.
Middle Georgia could see some strong storms Wednesday afternoon with another change in the weather on the way.
“Looking out on the horizon, cooler Thursday behind this next system, then chilly on Friday, but rebounding quickly and warming up late in the weekend, or early next week,” Murphey said as he looked at the forecast.
Between Feb. 28, 2016 to Feb. 27, 2017, Macon marked the warmest 365-day stretch on record, he said.
The average mean temperature of 67.9 degrees was 3.4 degrees above normal.
Meteorological spring begins Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more cold.
Long-range forecasts show another cool down in the second and third week of March.
“That might be our winter, coming in March,” Murphey said. “We still can get frost and freezing temperatures in March.”
He doesn’t see any long-lived cold outbreaks ahead on the computer models, though.
“We’ve got mosquitoes and all kinds of insects, so it sure would be nice to have some cold,” Murphey said.
The long-range forecast shows a greater chance of above normal temperatures through the spring months of March, April and May.
The warmer start to the year does not necessarily mean more triple-digit heat for summer.
“You can’t really infer anything about summer temperatures,” he said. “The way the models are going, I’m afraid to go out past five days.”