An unusually mild winter followed by a spring so warm thermostats started hitting the 80-degree mark in March can only mean one thing.
This spring is the second-warmest on record in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky since the National Weather Service in Wilmington began keeping such records in the late 1880s.
And with the upcoming string of sizzling heat expected this Memorial Day weekend, this season is on track to become the warmest spring of all time in the region, meteorologists predict.
So far this spring, the average temperature has been 57 degrees, said meteorologist Steve Rhebenach. That figure, which combines the daily high and low temperatures, is just below the current record of 58.2 degrees, recorded in 1878.
The top five warmest springs round out with the third-warmest at 57.8 degrees in 1921, followed by 57.7 in 1880 and 57.5 in 1991.
In a normal spring, the average temperature is around 53.8 degrees.
By the time the current meteorological spring officially ends on May 31, we could break the 134-year-old record and wind up with the warmest on record, he said.
Our warm temperatures this year began with an unusually mild winter followed by a string of balmy weather in March, with a startling 83 degrees recorded on both March 20 and 21.
Temperatures this May have been toasty as well. Highs of 83 degrees were recorded on May 2, 19 and 20.
So why is it so darn hot?
Blame a series of lingering high pressure systems repeatedly building into the region, driving up temperatures for days at a time, Rhebenach said.
“We’ve had a couple periods this spring where the weather pattern has changed and it’s been favorable for it to be warmer with high pressure building up over the region,” he explained.
Like this weekend, for instance.
Our region is about to sweat through the warmest temperatures recorded since last summer. Hot, sticky air pushing up from the south will stick around through at least the middle of next week.
Today’s forecast calls for a high temperature of 85 degrees under mostly sunny skies by 5 p.m.
Throughout the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, heat indexes will hover in the mid 90s with daytime temperatures peaking at or just over 90 degrees.
By Sunday, the mercury will cook at 93.
It will be dry over the next several days, so drag those sprinklers out of the back of your garage. The next chance for rain isn’t expected until Tuesday.
No heat records are expected to be broken over the holiday weekend, but it is unusual to have such hot weather already so soon in the season, Rhebenach said.
The typical high temperature for this time of year is 76 degrees.
Sept. 3 is the last day it was above 90 degrees in Greater Cincinnati – and the thermometer actually skyrocketed to 100 on that date.