For the third week in a row in February, Hampton Roads is welcoming spring-like temperatures with a roller coaster ride of weather as we push 80 degrees by Thursday.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but let’s use the strings on a guitar to explain our wacky winter warmth.

Each string on the guitar has a specific tension, which ultimately gives the guitar what is known as standard tuning. And in terms of our atmosphere, that would be a sense of normalcy – winter being cold, summer being hot, and spring and fall acting as the in-between.

But like any rock star that’s halfway through their set, the guitar warms up and the strings loosen, becoming out of tune. Music can still be played on the instrument, it’ll just sound a bit different.

More warmth in our climate ultimately loosens our jet stream and general flow of weather, allowing cold and warm air to move in places they don’t normally. So, long story short, a warmer climate leads to wackier weather.

Look at this coming Thursday, 100+ cities east of the Mississippi River will be pushing record highs, while the backside of the system throws a potential three-day snow/ice event. While it’s easy to use a specific weather event as an example of this, let’s broaden it to a season.

In the winter of 1988-1989, Hampton Roads saw the most 80-degree days on record, recording three of them. A rarity, considering the all-time record high for February is 82 degrees. So while that may appear to be a warm winter, that season was also one of the top five snowiest in Hampton Roads, racking in almost 25 inches of snow.

A warmer climate doesn’t mean more warmth. It’s more like an out of tune guitar.

Meteorologist Steve Fundaro