Spring arrives at last

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WALLA WALLA — Spring has sprung.

After a cold start, March finished with bright blue skies and a high of 72 degrees on Easter Sunday, making it the warmest day of the month.

But now it’s April, which means that along with sunshine, showers are likely to be in the picture before long, possibly by the end of this week.

Looking back at last month, it’s understandable why people might have been wondering if winter had forgotten it was time to leave (which it officially did on March 20).

Cool days and cold nights were pretty much the rule with the lowest low of 27 degrees coming on March 4, one of eight nights with freezing temperatures. Daytime highs stayed in the 50s and 60s right up until the end of the month.

The average monthly temperature was slightly above 48 degrees, which was 1.8 degrees above normal. The highest wind gust was 47 mph recorded on March 20 at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

March was also a dry month, delivering only .76 inches of precipitation, an amount 1.54 inches below normal. The scant rainfall brought the total precipitation for the year to 3.03 inches, a mark 3.56 inches below normal. Precipitation for the water year, which runs from October through September, is now at 10.43 inches, which is 3.18 inches below normal.

According to the National Weather Service, the sunny, mild weather is expected to stay around until Thursday when changing conditions will allow a series of Pacific weather systems to begin moving through central Washington.

The first system is forecast to bring widespread rain Thursday and Thursday night and another system will move through Friday afternoon through Saturday. Snow levels are predicted to drop to 4,000 to 6,000 feet, causing the rain to switch to snow in the mountains.

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