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It’s the first day of spring, but it won’t feel like it in the Rock Hill region

Cover those bushes and plants for yet another winter-like freeze.

The Spring Equinox arrived at 5:24 p.m. Monday, ushering in a season that produces a big change in daily temperatures.

But the first day of spring seems more like January to Rock Hill-area residents, with high temperatures in the 50s and overnight lows below freezing.

Warmer weather is ahead. And forecasters say we won’t have to wait long.

Rock Hill recorded a low of 30 degrees Monday morning, and it was even colder in Lancaster, where the low was 28.

It was the fourth time in a week that freezing conditions blanketed the region, following an unusually mild February and early March.

The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Watch for Monday night and early Tuesda. Temperatures are expected to be around 30 degrees at daybreak Tuesday; and afternoon highs are forecast to be near 60.

After that, things are expected to change.

National Weather Service meteorologist Christian Patterson said despite some cloudiness Wednesday, we’ll feel some warming.

He said a change in weather patterns is expected by Thursday.

High pressure over the Gulf of Mexico is forecast to strengthen, which will bring much warmer temperatures to the area. Highs are expected to approach 80 degrees Thursday and then climb into the lower 80s for Friday.

Showers are expected late Friday and early Saturday with a weak cold front, but forecasters say temperatures behind the front will remain mild for the weekend – unlike recent cold frontal passages, which produced very chilly conditions.

In fact, government meteorologists are predicting warmer-than-usual temperatures for at least the next 14 days, stretching into early April.

And that is also what Rock Hill-area residents can expect.

The outlook for April through June is for above-average temperatures. Precipitation is expected to be around average for the region.

Spring is a time of fairly rapid warming across the Carolinas.

Here is a look at average high temperatures for Rock Hill during springtime:

March 20: 66.5

April 1: 70.2

April 15: 73.4

May 1: 78.8

May 15: 80.9

June 1: 85.5

June 15: 87.8

Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle