The first day of spring happens at the Spring Equinox every year, and this year’s equinox happened at 6:45 p.m. EST March 20.
Spring came in with a roar this year with Winter Storm Ultima, according to the Weather Channel, while a new moon, or “supermoon” made a “nonappearance” the same evening.
Both the spring equinox and the supermoon each played a part in the cosmic triple play, which also included a solar eclipse earlier in the morning, according to EarthSky.
Known officially as the vernal equinox, the first day of spring doesn’t always feel or look like it, according to the Boston Globe.
That’s something some 30 million U.S. residents could attest to when they woke up to a snow-covered world and read the winter weather advisory posted today from the National Weather Service.
In fact, the first day of spring brings cold, wet, and snowy weather just as often as it brings warmer, sunnier, and overall nicer weather. According to the National Weather Service, while March 20, 2014, brought blue skies and warmer weather in the 50s, today was a colder first day of spring, and it brought with it Winter Storm Ultima.
Winter Storm Ultima hit the New England region hard, according to the Weather Channel, from Southern Pennsylvania and Delaware to Maine and northeastern Canada.
According to Time Magazine, some parts of the region could have seen “up to a half inch of snow.” Lynport and Morrisville in Pennsylvania, about 60 and 20 minutes from Philadelphia, saw almost eight inches of snow, while McGuire Air Base, NJ, saw just over six inches and Mt. Saini, NY, saw five inches, according to the Weather Channel.
Winter Storm Ultima is what some locals call a nor’easter, because of the similar qualities of the storm types even though the storm does not technically fit with the nor’easter definition.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a Nor’easter is a “cyclonic storm” with winds blowing “from a northeasterly direction,” and they happen frequently between the months of September and April, although they can happen anytime.
While much of the snowfall has moved on and it is no longer snowing in the Philadelphia/Mt. Holly region, the northeast is still under a winter weather advisory, according to Accuweather.
According to Accuweather, it is raining in the areas no longer getting snow, and the service is warning that rainstorms Saturday could mean all that melting snow will turn into ice as the weather turns colder Saturday night and into Sunday.
As the official start to spring and what’s supposed to be warmer weather, Winter Storm Ultima certainly took some by surprise.
What also surprised some was learning about the Spring Equinox being the final part of a cosmic triple play not seen since 1646, according to NASA.
The supermoon was part two. A supermoon happens about once every 14 cycles of the moon, and it makes the moon appeared closer, larger, and brighter than any other day – or it would have, had the supermoon happened during the Full Moon phase of the moon cycle instead of the New Moon phase.
Then came the spring equinox Friday evening, which — with or without snow — is a fitting end the cosmic triple play of a lifetime.
Maybe if New England residents are lucky, the convergence of the three might just bring them enough luck that the rain will wash the snow away – without flooding the area, as Accuweather is predicting.