In like a Lion...

By: Myles Henderson
By: Myles Henderson

As the saying goes, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb", but what does that even mean?

As meteorologists we hear all sorts of weather proverbs, saying, and jokes. But perhaps the most common one (at least this time of year) is the lion and the lamb. "The month of March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." What does that mean really? Is it true?

March is a transition month. We start the month in winter and end it in spring. The average temperature numbers are an indication of this. The average high on March 1st in Charlottesville is 53, the average high on March 31st is 64.

The spring-like warm up can also have an impact on precipitation. This year we started March with a bit of snow on the 3rd but it has been all rain since then.

But what does temperature and precipitation have to do with lions and lambs? Well, the lion and lamb connection may have more to do with the stars. If you look at the night sky on March 1st, the constellation Aries (also called the ram or lamb) is in the western sky. If you look to the east, the constellation Leo (the Lion). So Leo is "rising" in the night sky. At the end of the month, Leo is overhead while Aries is right on the western horizon (on it's way out).

We all know not every March follows the proverb. What do you think about this March? Lion in, Lamb out? Another pair of critters perhaps? Leave your comments below.

-MH
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