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Don Kula of Manchester waits for his order on at Cremeland in Manchester on the first day of spring on Monday. The business opened for the season on Saturday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Though spring has sprung, there's a cold spell in the forecast


Spring officially arrived Monday at 6:29 a.m., although it didn’t look or feel much like a change of season in New Hampshire.

“Spring has a lot of variability, so you’re definitely going to see fluctuations,” said Nikki Becker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. “Just remember, our days keep getting longer.”

Bright sun and temperatures in the mid-50s continued to slowly melt the snow remaining from last week’s nor’easter, but an actual sustained run of spring-like warmth is not in the immediate forecast.

A cold front is expected to drop New Hampshire right back into the cold zone on Wednesday. Highs in southern New Hampshire are likely to reach only into the upper 20s, while lows in the North Country may dip into single digits.

It was only a few weeks ago that Granite Staters were enjoying record-breaking warm temperatures to close out February. Seasoned New Englanders predicted — correctly — that at least one more blast of snow would hit before winter was really finished. Last Tuesday, a late-season nor’easter dumped up to 23.6 inches across the state.

While the snowbanks of winter will remain for a while longer, there were also signs of spring’s arrival on Monday.

Cremeland Drive-in, Manchester’s iconic seasonal eatery on Valley Street, was packed with loyal patrons craving their first onion rings and ice cream of the season.

“It’s typically a landmark — when Cremeland opens, spring is here,” co-owner Nicole Queena said Monday afternoon. “We’re usually one of the first ones opening as far as the seasonal places go.”

Queena said they had hoped to be in business by last Monday, but ran into some delays, thereby missing Tuesday’s blizzard.

“That would technically be the snowstorm that we always get after opening, so hopefully that’s it. We’re not going to get any more snow and we’re going to go right into a beautiful spring,” Queena said.

A few outside tables were covered in snow, but Queena is hopeful it will all be gone soon.

“That doesn’t seem to be deterring anybody from coming out and standing outside or sitting in their cars,” she said.

Becker said the next round of precipitation in New Hampshire isn’t expected until this weekend, when temperatures should be back in the 40s and possibly 50s in southern areas. Rain appears more likely than snow, although some areas could see a mix.

Becker said the gradual melt is good for New Hampshire’s water table as it slowly recharges. But she cautioned that the longer days and more intense sunlight could cause ice jams and excessive runoff.

”It’s never good to just write off spring flooding,” she said.

dalden@unionleader.com

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