Unpredictable Easter Weather

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By Richard Sparago on March 21, 2013, 10:38am Last modified: March 24, 2013, 9:43pm

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Easter comes early this year, March 31st. Have you ever wondered why Easter is sometimes in March, and in other years, early or late April? Traditionally, Easter is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal full moon. The Paschal full moon is the first full moon of spring. Easter takes place on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon. Now you know! But let's get back to weather. Because Easter comes at different times in the early spring, Easter weather has been known to vary considerably.

Take for example Easter of 1970. That year, Easter was March 29th, and the northeast was treated to a significant snowstorm on Easter Sunday. The 1970 snowstorm began at about 8:30 a.m. and persisted throughout the day until early evening, accompanied by wind gusts up to 30 miles an hour. The Easter parade in New York City was cancelled because of the snow, as 4 inches were recorded in Central Park. However, just north of the city, accumulations were much higher. In fact, 2-3 feet of snow were recorded in northwest New Jersey, and parts of interior Connecticut (Bridgeport recorded 3 inches officially). Now let's fast forward six years to 1976. That year, Easter fell on April 18th, in the midst of a heat wave. In fact, New York City recorded 96 degrees that Easter Sunday, and that is tied for the record for the highest April temperature ever recorded in New York City. Interesting, 96 was also the highest temperature recorded in 1976 in the big city. 

So what is "normal" for Easter Sunday? As mentioned above, due to date variability, that's impossible to definitively pinpoint. The normal high in Bridgeport for March 31st is 52 degrees. The average high for April 10th is 56 degrees, and the average high for April 18th is 59 degrees. It's safe to say that Easter should bring spring-like temperatures. However, in the not-so-distant past, the holiday has delivered both winter and summer.

Welcome to New England.

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Richard Sparago

Town: Milford, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since February 2012.

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