We sure did endure quite the winter in North Central Wisconsin. From record snowfall in December, to the 12th coldest January in Wausau, including for the season over 47 days when the mercury fell below zero, to snow depths which at their peak across the region ranged from 15 to 20", winter weather enthusiasts got their fair share of ideal cold and snowy conditions. For me and I'm sure many other folks, the change in the seasons is much appreciated.
So much so that Mother Nature early in the week pushed temperatures well into the 50s to the lower 60s on Monday and St. Patrick's Day featured readings into the 60s for the first time this year. All good things come to an end, at least temporarily for our rather warm weather, but still it has been quite the climb from highs in the upper teens back on March 12th. Another interesting tidbit about St. Patrick's Day this year is that this is the day where the sunrise and sunset are exactly 12 hours apart. Now some of you might wonder, isn't that supposed to happen on the first day of spring, which is on Friday? Not really. The vernal equinox is the day on the calendar that the sun is located closest over the equator (the same holds true for the autumnal equinox in September). The particular day that there is equal daylight and darkness tends to occur a few days before or after. For example in Miami, Florida, they had 12 hours of daylight back on March 15th, New York City on the 16th and along with Seattle, Washington and Juneau, Alaska the 17th. Either way, from this point until the start of summer in June, we can look forward to longer stretches of daylight and certainly warmer days as we turn the calendar into May and June especially.
Lastly, another plus with the recent arrival for the warm weather is the slow melting of the snow on the ground. Occasional we have had instances where a significant rain storm rolls through the Badger State in March or April and combined with remaining snow cover creates areas of flooding. Back in late March 2004 there was widespread flooding in North Central Wisconsin after anywhere from a .25" to .50" of rain fell, clearing out the snowpack and leading to many rivers and streams running over their banks. So far this year we should avoid this outcome due to rapid snowmelt, but of course flooding can happen at any time of the year. Speaking of which this week is flood safety awareness week. For more on how you can be prepared if flooding occurs, check out the NWS Flood Safety website. And if you really want to get into the spirit of the week here's the link to the catchy song Turn Around...Don't Drown.
Enjoy the spring-like weather!
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