Sunday, April 9, 2017

Real Spring Arrives Today In Vermont

Based on the forecast, I decree that spring arrives in
Vermont today, so we're going to see a lot of things
soon, like this photo taken in my St. Albans,
Vermont yard last year. 
There are many opinions on when spring really arrives.

Climatologists usually pick March 1, which what is normally the three coldest months of the year end.

(This year, March was colder in Vermont than December, January and February, so this was a rare occasion when the climatologists' definition didn't work)

Other people say spring arrives on or around March 21 on the spring equinox, when the day is more or less exactly 12 hours long - in the middle of the process when the day's lengthen toward summer's peak.

My definition of the first day of a Vermont spring is more fluid. That would be the day when we have a big warm up, and there's no immediate sign of a return to winter. The first day of spring is when the snow has finally been defeated and the big spring greenup starts.

It could come on any day in March or April. This year, the first day of spring comes today.

At least in most valleys, the snow has mostly disappeared. Sure, there was fresh snow Saturday morning but that's disappearing fast.

More importantly, we've got a sustained period of spring warmth starting today. And when it inevitably cools down later this week, it won't go back down to winter levels.

Yeah, yeah, it was 70 degrees or so in late February in parts of Vermont. But that was a very odd fluke. As we well know, winter returned in earnest during March. And during the first few days of April, frankly.

The first day of spring - today - and what will happen in the next few days will be totally obvious to the most casual observer.

Early season plants like daffodils and day lilies have poked tentatively out of the ground as of this morning. In a very few protected corners, grass has showed a hint of green.

That timid greening will turn into a stampede today and the rest of this week. No, the Green Mountains of Vermont won't actually be green by week's end, but you'll notice a LOT of progress.

Today began frosty, but the strong April sun will boost temperatures to within a few degrees either side of 60. Very nice. Some clouds will probably come in this afternoon, especially in the north, but it will still be a stunningly nice day.    
You'll be seeing these in Vermont very soon! 

Already, as I write this early Sunday morning, I can see out my office window that the ice has gone out  over the weekend in St. Albans Bay in the northern reaches of Lake Champlain.

By Monday, temperatures will reach the low 70s in many areas. The readings could even flirt with record highs in Montpelier, which happens to have a relatively low record high in place Monday for this time of year (Just 64 degrees.)

It'll be warm on Tuesday, too, as showers move in. There could even be a rumble of thunder thrown in, which is in itself a sign of spring since thunder is much more likely in the warmer times of year than in the winter.

The warmth and rain will rapidly melt snow in the higher elevations, too, so ski season is drawing to a close pretty soon. (The snow melt will keep water levels high in rivers this week, but I don't anticipate much flooding.)

As noted, cold fronts will cool us back down by the end of the week. But when I say it will be "colder" I'm not talking about winter cold. It's spring, after all, so it won't be below zero with a blizzard.

Instead, you'll need a jacket, and you might find yourself scraping ice off the car windshield by the end of the week. No biggie.

This is Vermont, so I'm sure there will be a little more snow before summer, and we've got quite a few subfreezing mornings to get through.

But today turns the chapter to spring. Rejoice.

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