In grade school, when the month of March rolled in, we were taught this little proverb: “March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb.”
Ever curious how this little saying came about? From a meteorological perspective, there’s little truth behind this saying, as many locations go from February into March with fierce and active winter weather. But by the end of March, the weather usually is warmer and more spring-like. The truth is, “in like a lion, out like a lamb” has more to do with astronomy than meteorology.
This old folklore has to do with the constellations of Leo the Lion and Aries the Ram (or lamb). If you go outside at about 8 tonight, look above the western horizon and you’ll see the dim stars that make up Aries. If you turn around and look east at almost the same height above the horizon, you will see the constellation Leo. Its stars form a sort of backwards question mark. So the Lion is rising in the east in early March, meaning the month is coming in “like a lion.”
Fast forward to March 31, and Leo will be almost overhead, while and Aries the Ram (lamb) will be right on the western horizon, preparing to set. With the lamb setting in the west, the month is going out like a lamb.
While the calendar still says we have 20 days until spring arrives, on the Vernal Equinox, March 1 represents the start of meteorological spring. It looks as if the weekend will remain mild and spring-like with temperatures in the low to mid 50s in the valleys and near 40s in the mountains, with scattered rain and mountain snows above 5,500 feet.
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Brian Neudorff is chief meteorologist for KMVT-TV and KTWT FOX 14. Email BrianNeudorff@neuhoffmedia.com or call 208-733-1100, ext. 3047.