How late is it, anyway?

According to seasonal averages, this spring is “behind” the average by about a week and a half, assistant state climatologist Pete Boulay says.

Spring 2012, on the other hand, came four weeks early.

The March 2012 average temperature at the Twin Cities International Airport: 48.3, 15.5 degrees above normal.

The 2013 March average: 27.2, which is 5.6 degrees below normal.

Nature’s response: dandelions and crabapples were blooming the first week of April in 2012, and lakes had been ice-free for weeks.

As of climatology records April 10 this year, though the top few inches of soil were thawed, there was a good foot of frost down below. And none of the area’s lakes were free of ice.

Boulay, a Maplewood resident, has kept his own records for annual “ice-out” on the Phalen chain of lakes for 13 years. Last year was the earliest: March 18. The median: April 5, with latest ice-out April 21.

White Bear Lake has a much longer record of ice-outs, stretching back over a century. “Their ice-out last year was March 19, and the latest was May 4, 1950,” Boulay says. “Let’s hope we don’t see that this year.”

Boulay stresses that the five- to six-week difference between spring 2012 and ‘13, though “a shock to the system,” isn’t unique.

“It just shows that climate and weather is very changeable, and any climate change scenario will feature wild swings in temperature,” he says. “Basically, we just aren’t used to these late, cold springs because we haven’t seen them for a long time.”

Gail Lee, Ramsey County Master Gardener, puts it more bluntly.

“Last year was atypical. This year, we’re just spoiled.”

However, even as Lee points out that this winter hasn’t been as different as people might think, she, too, has had enough.

“I’m so over it.”

Referenced Article: 
Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here