Weather

Spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere March 20 and, wow, are we glad to get here from there/2020, the year of the pandemic! The photos in the gallery slider above are from happier times aka pre-pandemic.

OK, you're thinking, just how do 'they' decide when spring starts? Spring begins with the March / vernal equinox -- which is derived from the Latin words for equal night, as in 12-hour day and 12-hour night. Fall begins with the fall / autumnal equinox. You probably know that we experience the shortest day in December usually 21 or 22, but it can fall on 20 or 23. Then in June, typically 20 or 21, it's the longest day -- thus do the seasons turn.

While the calendar says spring, however, the weather is less predictable. Storms, floods and tornadoes are the most common, but don't count frigid temperatures and snow out of the picture just yet. Of course, storms is sort of a catch-all term and can include strong winds, wind, hail, thunder, lightning in warmer weather and freezing rain, sleet, ice, snow and, again, strong winds in a cold front. Let's not forget Jim Cantore's excitement over the rare thunder-snow!

If you're antsy to get that vegetable garden started, be aware of the last frost/freeze dates in your zone and remember they are the average date, not the absolute. Be prepared to cover starter plants and seed beds, if necessary.

And if the vegetable gardening bug is new to you since last year, we've compiled some help for that. Start with last year's guide to victory gardens. If you prefer to simply make a beeline for some gardening how-tos, then here's the 2020 edition as well as the 2021 follow-up. Both include links to helpful gardening sites.

The National Weather Service has a complete listing of potential spring weather hazards across these United States and how to prepare for them.

The National Safety Council likes to time spring safety checkups to the start of Daylight Savings Time.

The list of spring safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes a list of items to include in a first aid kit, among other guidelines.

Last, but certainly not least in this list, is ready.gov, the official website of the Department of Homeland Security. There's plenty of info there from disasters and emergencies to severe weather on up to recovering from a disaster ... and more.