When does spring start in 2017? What's the first day and how are the dates decided?

The date of spring can be a little complicated according to the Met Office.

It says there are actually two different dates that mark the first day of the season - one being meteorological and the other astronomical.

Astronomical seasons refer to the position of Earth's orbit in relation to the sun taking into account equinoxes and solstices - this is the date most people use to decide when the season starts.

The date of spring can be a little complicated according to the Met Office. Getty Images

When Is First Day Of Spring 2017?

Despite lingering cold temperatures, and maybe a few snow flurries overnight this weekend, the first official day of spring arrives early Monday morning, March 20. Otherwise known as the 2017 spring equinox, the day brings the promise of warmer days and more hours of sunshine; for the record spring begins Monday, March 20, 2017 at 6:29 a.m. ET.

The vernal equinox, or spring equinox, is one of two times a year when we have nearly equal parts day and night, according to Almanac.com.

"The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night,” The Old Farmer's Almanac reported. "Days and nights are approximately equal everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west."

Virginia restaurants are quick to embrace the slightest hint of warm weather by opening outdoor dining areas and, of course, Washington, DC area residents look to the start of the cherry blossom season—DC's unofficial welcome to spring.

Monday's weather forecast from the National Weather Service will feel much more like spring than this weekend. Look for mostly sunny skies on Monday with a high near 59. The low Monday night will be around 42, with a 30 percent chance of precipitation. Spring continues on Tuesday with a high near 59 under partly sunny skies. The thermometer dips about 10 degrees after that for a few days, but at least there aren't more snow predictions.

Gardener's await spring with anticipation. A few types of plants can go in the ground now, including asparagus, cabbage, chives, leaf lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips, according to the University of Virginia Extension Service.

Find average frost dates in a chart available online so you don't jump the gun on a crop that can't survive any late chills. In the tidewater region, the last killing frost is generally between April 10 and 21.

The long-range weather forecasts for spring in the Mid-Atlantic states call for temperatures at or slightly above average conditions on the East Coast in April. Weather.com says above-average warmth is expected to spread through the Mid-Atlantic states in May.

Early indications hint at a warmer-than-average summer is in store for the United States, particularly early on, which may not be a surprise after Maryland and Virginia experienced one of the warmest February months on record, and have escaped any huge snowstorms.

First day of spring officially arrives early Monday

It's the day warm weather fans have been waiting months for: Monday is the first day of spring!

Spring officially arrives at 6:28 a.m. EDT (3:28 a.m. PDT) Monday, when the sun will be directly over the equator, marking the spring (aka vernal) equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere. For the folks down under in the Southern Hemisphere, it will be the first day of autumn.

The word equinox is derived from two Latin words: aequus (equal) and nox (night), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It's one of two days out of the year — the other being the autumnal equinox in September — when the Earth's axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, resulting in a "nearly" equal amount of daylight and darkness almost everywhere on Earth.

It's also one of only two days each year that almost every spot on Earth — except the poles — experiences a sunrise at due East and a sunset at due West.

As for when the warm weather will finally be here to stay, the official forecast for April through June from the Climate Prediction Center calls for warmer-than-average temperatures for almost the entire nation, including Alaska.

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