Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002


Here’s a quick question, which would probably only make sense to northern-hemisphere people: would you regard February as being in winter or spring?
Normally I’d say spring, but it’s been snowing again today and it’s bitterly cold outside. We haven’t got a lot of snow but I’m taking my camera out nonetheless in case there’s something interesting to photograph.


  1. Well, technically February is still in winter, no? And the best part of March too, for that matter… I guess it depends if you see seasons merely as an annual change in weather conditions or as a reflection of Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

  2. Well Scientifically Serge is right, with Dec 21st to March 21st being Winter, but for some reason we get though the seasons over here with Feb, Mar, Apr being Spring, while Nov, Dec, Jan is Winter. In reality the coldest weather in The British Isles is probably Dec->March

  3. I always consider it to be in Spring and I think I was right up until this week. Its been freezing and there was a few more snow showers yesterday. Brrr.

  4. Well, up here at 60°N February and March is very much winter. Often the last decimeters of snow come during this period.
    Just have a look at a webcam from across the water from me in Stockholm:

  5. Typically, I’d say this is February is in winter. In Seattle, it begins to rain steadily in late October/eary November and doesn’t let up much until March or April. While we consider this rainy season winter, with warming temperatures March and April are clearly spring, so February is typically considered part of winter (besides, snow is still typically falling in the mountains for some good skiing).
    Lots of use of the qualifier, “typically”, in the above because this year we’ve had nearly 2 full weeks of sunny, gorgeous days. Lows at night have been nipply – around 22 degrees – but highs in the day have been in the low to mid 50s. I might have to go water my moss, soon.

  6. Given the amount of snow yesterday it’s got to be winter. Edinburgh bearly got above freezing the day before. However there were a few brave spring flowers out in Mayfair, so it’s got to be almost spring.

  7. Ooh, definitely winter. I’d say winter is mid-Nov to Mid-March. Recent years have been mild, and Brits have terrible memories for weather, so the definitions are easily blurred.

  8. I’d go with the winter theory as we always have bad weather after christmas and in late Jan, feb.
    Also Spring doesn’t officially start until my uncles birthday (21st March) but that often seems late as by then daffodils have been out for several weeks.

  9. Hmm, that’s quite interesting. Here in Finland where I live (65th parallel), it is definitely still winter (now it’s -12, this morning it was -20).
    But being Italian, I can say that also in Italy February is considered winter. As a matter of fact, the few times it has snowed in the Florence area (44th), it has been only in January or February.
    In Italy I’d say spring comes when mimosa blossoms, which is usually in the first half of March. Here in Finland, I’d say it starts around half March too, when the snow starts to melt (and the melting process goes on until May!)

    • Winter => December, January & February
    • Spring => March, April & May
    • Summer => June, July & August (think school holidays)
    • Autumn => September, October & November…

    The Wikipedia seems to agree.

  10. Where I live, Spring begins when you see the first daffodil!
    Not scientific at all really.

  11. Thanks everyone for their inputs – it makes interesting reading. Personally I’d call it Winter on the border with Spring in March. But I know that this is referred to being the ‘spring term’ in the academic year, even if it starts in early January, i.e. mid-winter.
    Muppetette: We have quite a few daffodils already, therefore by your reckoning it’s already spring 🙂 .

  12. Woohoo! Spring snow!
    I haven’t seen any daffodils for myself yet, just snowdrops…

  13. Dave writes: “Well Scientifically Serge is right, with Dec 21st to March 21st being Winter . . .”
    Scientifically? What science does that come from?
    The idea that the seasons begin on solstices and equinoxes is a myth. Solstices and equinoxes are astronomical phenomena, and astronomy has nothing to do with the weather.

  14. Pat: I have a Romanian work mate who’d agree with you. As an example, he brought me the fact that most of June should be “scientifically” spring, while it can actually be considered summer.
    Well, that is partly true. It depends on the point of view, and most of all, on the part of the world you live.
    Funnily enough, the claim of June of being already summer doesn’t really work neither in Finland, where I leave, nor in Italy, where I was born.
    In Italy because yes, people start to go to the sea in June, but the real sea season is from July to August. And August is the best month, because the water is really warm (in June it is still classified “cold”, although it might sound funny to people visiting Italy from northern Europe).
    In Finland, July is the warmest month, where you can easily go to the sea and have a sun bath (to have a sea bath, well, you have to get used to it). From the half of September the temperature starts slowly to aim at the zero Celsius, that is, autumn (and the snow) is coming. But if you want to experience something below -20 or even -30, you have to be patient and wait for January-February, the real winter.

  15. It appears that we here in Ireland appear to use a different calendar to the rest of the world. Hence my confusion with February as being part of Spring.
    Wikipedia on The Irish Calendar

  16. links for 2005-02-24 Screwed by a driving tester! Shows just how great a place Cork is to do your driving test…

  17. It never occurred to me that February might be spring already in Britain! I always assumed your weather was yuckier than ours, so I figured your cold-and-blustery seasons were longer than ours. It’s most definitely still winter here in the Washington DC area, in fact today we are expecting eight inches of snow.