Mar 3, 2021Uncategorized

Here’s a weather prediction for March by Michael Steinberg for The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Let’s talk weather predictions for March 2021. According to weather folklore, if March “comes in like a lion, [it] goes out like a lamb.” Let’s see what sort of weather March has in store for us this year.


“Spring forward,” indeed! Overall, March will feature above-normal temperatures on average in most areas, with cooler-than-normal readings limited to the western United States, Quebec, and British Columbia. Expect below-normal precipitation in most areas in the western states, with near- or above-normal precipitation elsewhere.

Notable Dates in March

On March 14, we “spring forward” with the start of Daylight Saving Time. While this means that we have an extra hour or so of sunlight in the evening, it also means that we lose about an hour in the morning until we “fall back” in the fall.

Most of the United States and Canada will experience spring-like temperatures on the 14th, with the only exceptions being the Upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Canadian Maritimes, Prairies, and North, where more winterlike temperatures will prevail.

Mild or perhaps even warm temperatures will be the rule in most places on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, although rainy periods may dampen celebrations in the Appalachians and Deep South, from Texas to the Heartland and High Plains, from Montana to the Pacific Northwest, in Hawaii, from western Ontario into Quebec, and in southern British Columbia. Colder temperatures and snow showers will add a flurry to parades in Alaska, the Canadian Maritimes, and northwest Ontario and from northern British Columbia into and across Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Springlike weather will appropriately occur in most areas at the spring equinox on March 20, although snow showers will remind us more of winter in the High Plains, Intermountain region, Alaska, Canadian Maritimes, and many central, western, and northern swaths of Canada.

On March 28—both Palm Sunday and the first day of Passover—sunny, mild weather will predominate, with rainy periods limited to Texas, the Intermountain region, California, and Hawaii, and snow showers possible in northern Alaska and from Quebec into the Canadian Maritimes.


Now back to this proverb. If you think about it, the proverb makes sense for March. It’s a transitional month starting with winter, ending with spring.

Where did this proverb come from?

It’s appeared over the centuries. John Ray (1627–1705) was a naturalist who wrote, “March hack ham [hackande = annoying] comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.” This is published in the “Catalogue of English Proverbs” in 1670. The phrase “March came in like a lion” shows up in Ames Almanac in 1740.

A favorited theory (which fits the Almanac) is that the proverb is based on astronomy and the positions of the constellations. At the beginning of the year, we have Leo the Lion (eastern horizon); by the end of March, it’s Aries the Ram (western horizon).

There have also been religious associations: Jesus arrives as the sacrificial lamb at Easter, but will return as the Lion of Judah. Weather-wise, this means a false spring.

Of course, the Almanac has many other March proverbs in its archives. Here are a couple that have lasted the ages:

  • So many mists in March you see, So many frosts in May will be.
  • March comes in with adders’ heads and goes out with peacocks’ tails.

They aren’t quite as memorable as the lion and the lamb!



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