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Mild winter in Berks, but first 70 is already late

The winter has been mild temperaturewise, and Berks County seems to be on the verge of the least snowiest winter on record, but one measure of warmth is tardy.

That is the average first date of a 70-degree reading, which is March 18, and that date has barely moved over the full length of the 125-year temperature database.

The closest to 70 in 2023 was the 68-degree high on Feb. 23

But there’s a shot at 70 degrees on Thursday, and that looks to be the last chance in March, if the AccuWeather long-range forecast holds.

It’ll be a close call on Thursday with clouds and sun and the potential for showers and thunderstorms, the forecast shows, a hodgepodge day that could easily see the temperature spike to 70 and beyond with the right amount of sunshine mixed with the southwest flow.

Beyond that a cooler regime is expected to return, with daytime highs generally in the 50- to 60-degree range the rest of March, which is about the extent of the reliability of the forecast.

The latest 70 in a year was April 29, 1904, according to U.S. Weather Bureau and National Weather Service data. Second and third places go to April 24, 1953, and April 23, 1983.

To demonstrate the hard-to-predict nature of the weather:

• 1904 was the coolest year in that 125-year Berks database at 49 degrees, though it did have 10 days of 90-degree heat.

• The heat turned up in 1953, with 33 90-degree days, including a couple of days that hit the century mark.

• 1983 was part of the cold 1970s and ’80s, but an uncommon heat set in and the year ended with 49 90-degree days, still the most for any year on record in Berks. But there was so much offsetting cold that the year was well outside the top 10 and even those months with many 90-degree days aren’t on their respective lists for 10 warmest.

Dearth of snow

Meanwhile, the 2022-23 seasonal snow total is 3.7 inches, which is 0.2 less than the lightest season on record, which was three years ago. The average is 28.3 inches.

Time is running out on chances to add to that 3.7 inches. Snow is possible into April, and making up 0.2 inch wouldn’t take much, but judging by the forecast it would have to be perfect timing for any measurable snow as the days dwindle.

The seasonal average will be dragged down. However, heavy snow seasons this century prior to 2019-20 had boosted the seasonal average up from 27 inches to a historical high of nearly 30 inches. Plus, 2020-21 was above the average.

The precipitation database is 154 years, even longer than the temperature database.

Source: Berkshire mont

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