Pleasant weather? Wait for it.
Weather watching is a part time hobby of mine. I like to study the movements of the jet stream, paths of storms, El Nino and his jealous sister, la Nina, which phase the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Icelandic low are in, how much of the great lakes are frozen over the course of winter, as well as other factors that all tie in together to produce our weather patterns. Yes, I consult the Farmer’s Almanac, as a guideline. I watch several different news and weather channels (and that is the extent of my television, unless there is a Pink Floyd documentary on).
I put no stock, whatsoever, in Groundhogs (they are usually wrong).
In weather, rarely is anything absolute. There are too many factors involved. Patterns are present, but these patterns are often so spread out over time that they go unnoticed by most.
I am also moved to predict, on or about Groundhog Day each year, how much longer we will be locked in the grips of frozen slop. This year I purposely avoided making said prediction because I didn’t have much to go on. The ground was frozen, and had been for months. There was heavy snow cover and few days of full sun, even fewer days above freezing. I didn’t see any of the natural signs I look for.
So when we hit a week straight of 40’s with a foray into the high 50’s in early March, I was surprised. Then again, I have seen long, cold, snowy winters before and recalled that they tended to break more sooner than later.
On my way back from the store last Sunday, I looked across a sun lit copse of trees alongside the highway. Sure enough, I saw buds pushing on quite a few trees. Not much, but enough to change the look of the tree tops from dead sticks to sort of fuzzy. Sort of.
Then rain, and a lot of it. Warm rain from the south. This is exactly the kind of thing that obliterates the snow and causes the emergence of spring peepers.
But not this time.
Spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer, proper) are the harbinger of Spring for me. Folk lore says that if you hear peepers 3 nights in a row freezing weather is done with. For the most part, that seems to hold true. I listen carefully for their heralding chorus at this time of the year. So far, they have been silent.
Forecasts call for another week of 40’s and, although not the best temperature for frolicking out-of-doors, it still equates to melt. The snow cover is retreating quickly, exposing flattened shrubbery and landscaping that was compressed by mounds snow and ice for upwards of two months straight. At least they were shielded from the bitter cold.
Filthy mounds of snow, diminishing like glaciers with black lung disease, expose long forgotten items that didn’t escape the onslaught.
As I write this, we have come out the other side of another relatively warm rain system from the south. But the temperatures have dropped back down into the 30′ and the peepers have not made an appearance.
Sit tight, folks.