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Spring is here, spring thaw is not

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Never mind the snow. Spring is here.

Snowfall has been sparse, but low temperatures through winter were near average across the north country to make up for last year’s warm spell.

“It’s not like last year,” said a Buffalo National Weather Service meteorologist. “We were breaking records last year. We were 40, 50 degrees above normal.”

He said this winter was a shock for many who were expecting light snow and higher temperatures again this year.

Watertown received nearly 70 inches of snow through February, according to Northeast Regional Climate Center Climatologist Jessica L. Rennells.

She did not have March’s snowfall compiled.

The area typically gets 78 inches of snow on average through February. Ms. Rennells said the shortfall can be blamed on January, which received 20 fewer inches than normal. However, December and February were both above average.

Lowville received 69.5 inches of snow. An Ogdensburg observer recorded 41.6 inches of total snow for the season, according to the Burlington office of the National Weather Service, 21 of which fell in December.

More snow is on the way, however. Lake-effect snow through Thursday could dump up to 20 inches of snow in typical lake-effect areas of Oswego, Jefferson, and Lewis counties. St. Lawrence County can expect 4 to 8 inches of snow falling up to a half-inch per hour and wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour through Wednesday.

The snow Monday night and Tuesday morning was enough to close seven schools in St. Lawrence County and give six schools across Jefferson and Lewis counties a two-hour delay. “The lake-effect snow will be enhancing what we’re experiencing in the current system,” said Burlington National Weather Service meteorologist Kimberly McMahon. “The bands will meander a little bit, so it’s hard to know where it’ll hit the most right now.”

She said it is unusual to have lake-effect storms of this extent in March.

“In the past, the lake has been frozen over,” she said.

A winter storm warning cautions that visibility while driving will be reduced and road conditions will be icy.

Temperatures from December through this month have been pretty close to average, according to officials from the National Weather Service in Buffalo and Burlington.

n Watertown was an average of 28.1 degrees from December through March.

n Lowville averaged 21.4 degrees.

n Massena has been nearly 23 degrees on average.

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