Nice weather for Pirates' home opener? Not a snowball's chance

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Maybe Pirates manager Clint Hurdle should have starting pitcher A.J. Burnett practice throwing mud balls for Monday's opening day of baseball season. The early weather forecast predicts a game-time temperature in the mid-40s and a chance of rain.

The Pittsburgh region's spring of discontent is expected to continue with below-average temperatures through the rest of the week. And next week isn't looking much better at this point.

"Winter is the gift that keeps on giving," quipped John Darnley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, as he reviewed snowfall amounts from Monday's spring storm. Because Monday's temperatures started in the high 20s and reached the mid-30s, the snow that ranged from 2.5 inches in Carnegie to 6.9 inches in Farmington, Fayette County, is mostly a slushy memory this morning.

Pittsburghers ready for an end to snow

The latest spring snow brought out the snow shovels once again, not to mention wistful thinking about an end to winter-like weather. (Video by Nate Guidry; 3/25/2013)

"The good news is this [snow] isn't going to stick around very long," Mr. Darnley said.

Even by rush hour Monday morning, road conditions were passable and improving as the temperature warmed, the snow ended and the overnight work of road crews paid off.

Such early spring storms are unusual but not unheard of in the Pittsburgh region. The region has four recorded spring storms with snowfalls of more than 7 inches since the weather service began keeping records: 12.7 inches on April 3, 1901; 11.2 inches on April 8, 1902; 8 inches on March 30, 1883, and 7.7 inches on April 3-4, 1987.

Even last year, when March featured 10 straight days with highs around 70 degrees, there was a last-gasp snowstorm of 6 inches on March 3-4.

For this season, the region has received 54.6 inches of snow, well above the seasonal average of 39 inches. Temperatures are not expected to be near normal anytime soon.

For the rest of the week, the forecast calls for mostly dry conditions with high temperatures expected to inch up a few degrees each day until a high of 49 on Saturday. That's still below the average high of 56 degrees for this time of year.

"It may seem like we go from winter to summer with no spring, but [spring] will happen," Mr. Darnley said. "It's definitely going to get better."

And about that home opener, scheduled for 1:35 p.m. Monday with the Chicago Cubs?

"It could change, but right now it's not looking very good," Mr. Darnley said. "This time of year it can change pretty quickly, so don't hold me to that."

weather - neigh_city - pirates

Ed Blazina: eblazina@post-0gazette.com or 412-263-1470. First Published March 26, 2013 4:00 AM


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