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Different feel to spring

By the time you are reading this, spring very likely will have arrived.

Winter, in fact, actually was scheduled to come to an end at 5:37 a.m. Saturday.

This no doubt will be the most interesting spring most of us will ever have gone through.

It was just one year ago when we heard about events being postponed and canceled on an almost daily basis. It also seemed like there almost always was a new restriction or protocol being talked about or put into place as everyone struggled with trying to, at best, slow the spread of the coronavirus.

That’s not the case this spring. Events are being scheduled and held. Clubs and organizations are returning to somewhat regular meeting schedules. Vaccine is becoming available in greater quantities each week and the lists of who is eligible to receive it has grown significantly. There’s a real expectation that friends and family members soon will be able to gather together and enjoy the company of one another.

Many of us have not been moving to varying degrees in the past year. According to numbers from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics that were included in a analysis conducted by QuoteWizard, the increase in the number of people who were staying at home in the period that ran from January 2020 to this past January was highest in Pennsylvania among states in our region at 22.4 percent.

Ohio came in at 18.8 percent and West Virginia finished at 9 percent, according to the Seattle-based LendingTree company that lets consumers and professionals compare insurance quotes. States that had higher stay-at-home percentages reported lower cases of COVID-19 than states with lower percentages, the report showed.

But all of that is on the verge of changing, and things are, finally, really beginning to open back up, and we will soon be anxious to take advantage of the warmer spring weather and get out and start to enjoy things once again.

Since we’ll be looking to spend more time outside in the coming months, it’s natural to wonder just what kind of weather we can expect to see.

According to the long-range forecasts prepared by the National Weather Service, we have between a 40 percent and 50 percent chance of experiencing above-average temperatures between now and the end of June. There’s also a 40 percent to 50 percent probability that we see above-average amounts of precipitation during that period.

Both the Old Farmer’s and Farmers’ Almanacs appear to be in agreement with those forecasts. Old Farmer’s is calling for sunny skies and warm temperatures through Wednesday, with cooler temperatures and snow showers giving way to sun for the remainder of the month. Farmers’, meanwhile, is calling for showers and thunderstorms for most of the next week.

April’s forecasts call for rain and showers through much of the month with a hot spell running from April 7 to April 13 (Old Farmer’s), and long periods of unstable weather with thunderstorms for most of the month (Old Farmers’.)

In May, Old Farmer’s is calling for rainy periods and below average temperatures, while Farmers’ sees warmer temperatures with several periods of rain likely, especially near the end of the month.

As for June, Old Farmer’s is calling for below average temperatures with rain and storms likely in the second half of the month, while Farmers’ sees thunderstorms during the first part of the month with fair weather near the end.

No matter how the weather actually turns out, though, we will be looking forward to traveling more than we have been. It’s best to always keep in mind that even though we have taken very significant steps toward controlling COVID-19, it remains a real threat, which means we should continue to put safety first in everything we do.

By doing that, we will be able to not only enjoy this spring, but many springs in the future.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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