Warmer weather could help social-distancing by not being cooped up

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – The CDC has been very clear on the fact that too little is known about COVID-19 to say with certainty whether the warmer spring weather on the way will lead to a decline in the spread of it.

However, many health experts are hopeful that it will follow a seasonality like the flu and cold season, and the number of cases of the new coronavirus will begin to decline.

Continuing with this hopeful prediction, it does look like the weather will heat up for much of the United States in the coming weeks, which will help with social distancing efforts without being cooped up inside. Especially since, for now, Governor Charlie Baker denied rumors of a statewide shelter-in-place order. Warmer weather means more people can safely spend time outside while they practice social distancing — the act of staying at least 6 feet away from others.

Today, President Trump urged older Americans and those at higher risk to stay at home when they can, but everyone else can still safely get outside.

Massachusetts COVID-19 guidance and directives say “if you leave your home, it is essential to strictly follow guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others.” Going outside and enjoying the fresh air in a wide open space makes that easy. 

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center’s long term outlook for Mar. 23 to Mar. 27 shows the best chances for warmer-than-average temperatures over the central and eastern United States. That’s because of something meteorologists call ridging; it’s associated with a large area of high pressure high in the atmosphere. Since high pressure leads to sinking air, that causes the air to compress and therefore warm as it reaches the surface. The opposite for the next 6-10 days is happening to the eastern half of the country — that’s called troughing. 

But as we go farther ahead, NOAA’s 3-4 week outlook, from Mar. 28 to Apr. 10, this ridging pattern is going to extend over much of the United States. Keep in mind, this means it will lead to general above-average temperatures, not necessarily hot weather every single day.

NOAA 3-4 week temperature outlook

For Massachusetts, that means overall warmer weather than our average highs from now until the beginning of April in the 50s. The monthly average high temperature in March for Chicopee is 47, which is much warmer in April at 61 degrees. 

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