SPRING'S arrival today puts an official stamp on the start of a season known for mild temperatures, planting on farms and in gardens, a return to more outdoor activities and the occasional spring rain.
National Weather Service forecasts for this week are in line with long-range averages with highs between about 50 and 70 degrees.
Residents of West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri might have thought spring arrived early at least once or twice.
A relatively mild winter looked like it was making its exit during the last week of February as highs rose into the mid-70s. The warmth and increasing amount of sunshine coaxed many trees to bloom and flowers to emerge, only to have brief snows and hard frosts return in March.
Along with the longer, warmer days comes the risk of severe storms. Some early-season tornadoes already have hit this year.
Weather nerds have pointed to a weak La Nina for some of the unseasonably warm weather in the Midwest and the rains that have drenched parts of California that had been locked in a prolonged drought. Other experts say an El Nino pattern is emerging.
Evidently, weather is not under human control. And even the best forecast models are, well, forecasts. They may prove correct most of the time. Over time, some of the predictions will be wrong.
Just ask residents of the New England states where the recent snowstorm dumped far less than expected.
At least during spring, there are greater chances of pleasant days.