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Wednesday marks the start of spring

In the past, spring in Oklahoma has included heavy snows, tornadoes and more.
by Bryan Painter Published: March 20, 2013

Because spring is a transition season, cold to hot, Oklahoma often receives a little of both.

The astronomical spring begins with the vernal equinox at 6:02 a.m. CDT Wednesday in the Northern Hemisphere.

The spring equinox marks the time when the center of the sun sits directly over the equator, moving from south to north, said Wayne Harris-Wyrick, director of the Kirkpatrick Planetarium at Science Museum Oklahoma.

That multitasking feature of spring can mean big snows through March, major freeze events through early April and summerlike temperatures or spring storms throughout, said Gary McManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

“Now, we all know that you can find these things in just about any season in Oklahoma,” McManus said, “but spring is particularly exciting for weather enthusiasts.”

Oklahoma had 58 tornadoes through April in 2012, and 51 in April 2011. In 2010, 90 twisters were recorded in May alone.

However, Freedom and Woodward reported 26 inches of snow associated with a late-March blizzard in 2009.

“Wheat growers and gardeners alike remember the big freeze events of 2007 and 2009 that caught tender plants unprepared,” McManus said.

With the jet stream still plunging down across Oklahoma at times in spring, before it retreats to the north for the summer, several primary ingredients necessary for exciting weather come together over the Plains.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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