Boy, what a special 2 months it’s been up here weather wise. So special, so very special (note extreme sarcasm) that I have decided to use the powers vested in me, as Reverend Snowflake, to declare the past two months Sprinter. Not spring and not winter. Nor some kind of balance between the two.
The “normal” Keweenaw March typically starts very winter-like. Most of the precip falls as snow, there is still plenty of snow on the ground and temps the first week or so are in the teens and 20’s. Then, about mid-month, There comes that first, warm and sunny day. By warm I mean hitting 50 or even into the 50’s. The combination of the warmer temps and sunshine is a blessing to all…even the hard core snow lovers. Tech students are seen trouncing around campus with shorts and t-shirts on. Here and there a vehicle will be seen with its windows down and there are smiles on many of the locals faces. We rarely put more than 2-3 of those days together in a row, but they are enough to erode the gloom created by the past 4-5 months of cold temps and gray skies. Plus, even with the return of the colder air and snow, locals know that it will not be too long before those types of days become common.
The final week to ten days of March typically sees lots of 40’s and about 1/2 the days being mostly sunny. A few 50’s is not out of the question either. That is what really gets the snows melting and the sap running.
By April, we usually seem to stall out some in the warming department. The big lake is still frigidly cold and unless the winds are from the south, that big, barely frozen lake will keep our temperatures mainly in the 40’s. We are not immune to snows in April either, but they typically are fairly quick hitting, dropping 2-5″ and then gone in less than 12 hours. Most of that newly fallen snow melts the next day. By the end April and early May 50’s start to become more commonplace than 40’s, although 40’s still happen around 30-40 percent of the time and snows can still fall.
The real transition to warmer temps and the green of spring happens as we travel through the month of May. First it’s the grass that turns green in the first week or so (if the snow is gone!), then flowers like Tulips, Daffodil, Lily of the Valley, Dandelion, and…if your are lucky enough, Early-Blooming Dwarf Iris will be blooming the 2nd to 3rd week of May. Buds on bushes like the Lilac are also swelling around the 2nd to 3rd week of May and by the last week or so, they bust open. The trees are the last to wake from their slumber. First come the Birch, Poplar and Aspen, not too far behind them will be the fruiting trees like the Apples, Cherry and any other growing around here. Finally as the last week of May comes and it seems like this will be the year without the Maples, Oak, Hickory, Cherry and Ash opening their leaves, in a matter of days they go from swelled buds to fully opened leaves.
By June, summer has taken over. All is green and magnificent up here. We have the varying bug seasons to have to grunt through, but a well seasoned yooper is always well prepared to go into battle against the little biting buggers, or better yet, sit the battle out to live another day!
So what has been up with this “spring”. The truth is, it has been severely lacking in any shots of warmth. Prior to yesterday, I believe we had just one day where the temperature reached at least 50. Yesterday was our first “Oh Wow” day, with upper 60’s and even a few low 70’s being recorded. Today it snowed. Not only has there been an absence of the unusually warm days, but lots of days where the temps have been several degrees below average, were under a thick overcast and exceptionally windy. In a nutshell, this March and April have been a parade of hard weather to find any enjoyment in. The first half of March was OK for winter recreation, but since, they day’s are just the kind of day you want to stay inside. To add insult to injury for me, I would normally be taking advantage of this weather by spending all my free time in the shop, but the triad of health thingys has not allowed me to have the energy for that. Naturally, Nora has hidden all the axes! Redrum, Redrum!
Ahh, don’t worry about this old boy. My buddy and partner in crime is on his way up from spending the winter in Arizona and will be here by the end of the week. That will go a long way towards putting my cabin fever to bed and although I have been saying it in my head for the past 3-4 weeks, the nice weather is just around the corner!
I do have a few pictures to share with you. This first one is from April 16th when we were having a full-on snowstorm. We picked up around 6-7″ out of that and once done, things looked like the dead of winter. Since then, we have been chipping away at the snowpack and our backyard is completely free, while the front yard has one pile about a foot deep from where it slid off the roof and there is another about 4-5″ deep from where the snowthrower piled it up a bit deeper. Up on the hill, places like Calumet and Mohawk still have 2-3 feet on the level at least. More in spots.
Yesterday during our “Oh Wow” weather day, we did venture to the big lake and were able to make it to White City for our first trip of the season. I really did not have the energy to trounce through the sand and walk the beach and the girls were hoping to be able to do a little beach combing, so we drove to some friends place where I could just park the truck and watch the girls look for treasures Lake Superior had decided to give up. The warm temps yesterday were tempered a bit by the very strong winds off the lake. Spring can have winds that will rival the Gales of November, but is not typically known for as big of waves, because of the way the warmer air reacts with the colder water. None the less, the big lake was no place to be yesterday, as the wave action was very respectable for April. While in the truck, I kept my window half up and let the sun warm the air inside. With the window half open, I could still clearly hear the waves rolling onto the shore, so I reclined my seat and slowly drifted off to sleep for a short nap.
It’s unplanned, unexpected moments like that which make living here such a treat. after all my grumbling about the weather, along comes a moment of pure bliss to take me away to a different place in my mind. One that is the magic of the Keweenaw.
Good Night From the Keweenaw..