March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb - where does it come from and is it true?

We've all probably heard the saying, that March comes "in like a Lion, out like a lamb" before. But what exactly does it mean, and more than that, is it true? 

The phrase is simple enough to figure out: the weather to start the month is bad (roaring, like a lion) and the month ends in a much calmer, nicer way (gentle, like a lamb).

When it comes to March weather, things tend to jump around wildly!

This is the month when we typically see our first 60 degree day... but also the month when we average over 6 inches of snow. It's not uncommon to have 35 degree swings in temperature from one day to the next.

We could be 60 degrees one day and then see 2 inches of snow 24 hours later (hey! that's happening this weekend! So get the FOX 2 weather app so you know when to pack the light jacket, the heavy coat, and the boots!)

So that's how we get to the phrase, "in like a lion out like a lamb". But the inverse can then be applied as well; if the month starts calm, then it will probably end with a bang.

People have been saying this for forever, but is it actually true?

To answer that I looked back at the last 10 years for some statistical analysis. I checked out what happened on March 1st and then looked at how the month wrapped up, noting the temps and the precipitation (snow or rain).

There were some years when the saying held true: in 2013 for example March came in like a lion (temps of only 31 degrees) and went out like a lamb (temps warmer than average with no rain or snow).

You could say 2016, 2014, and 2013 all came in like a lion and went out like a lamb, in fact. But then, there was 2021, 2019 and 2017 that all came in like a lamb and went out like...a lamb.

Plenty of years didn't follow the lion/lamb folklore at all!

And when you think about it, that makes sense: March is a crazy weather month when things can change quickly. 

Mother Nature doesn't subscribe to a catchy saying any more than my kids listen to me when I tell them to put their shoes on. 

It is the weather, after all.