April is here! The long cold month of March is behind us and it’s onto the 4th month. This is when average temperatures rise towards and even into the 60s and the landscape finally takes on a more spring-like look. It’s going to take a bit more time, but bare ground will surely happen this month.
This was a brutal winter. I don’t use superlatives too much, but unless you are old enough to remember 1904, than the past three months have been the coldest and in most cases snowiest, you have ever experienced. The past 12 weeks have forced us to further hone the term “hardy New Englander”
It looks like Providence, Worcester and Portland will all end up with the coldest January through March period on record and even though by some measures that time period isn’t entirely winter, it might as well be.
The word winter can have all sorts of uses and definitions. We have meteorological winter, the period from December 1st through March 1st. There’s also astronomical winter, December 21st through March 20th. We have “winter-like weather” for those conditions that occur when it’s not winter, but it’s cold and snowy. Then we have what I like to think of as psychological winter. This is the period from the Monday after New Year’s Day until today. That period is really winter. Here’s my logic.
Typically, it doesn’t get very cold or snowy until mid-December. Even if we do see some snow before Turkey Day, it’s nearly a sure bet it won’t last. Then you have the holidays. This keeps most of us busy either shopping or hanging out with friends. There’s lot of eating, fun and even stress to keep our minds occupied. This all lasts until New Year’s. Even if you go back to work right after New Year’s Day, it’s still a short week. But, when that first Monday comes in January, returning us to a regular schedule, with the kids are back in school, the reality of the long cold winter truly sets in.
I can embrace January and February as winter. I ski, I snowshoe and I get out nearly every day to put myself in any sunshine. March is a rough month for me. I will ski because it’s warmer and the skiing is often wonderful, but I also want to start gardening. The longer days make it feel like spring should arrive, but it usually doesn’t. This make the past month difficult and long.
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I know there are a large number of you who don’t like winter and just sort of muddle through. I hear people ask others whey they just don’t move if they don’t like winter. That question doesn’t have much thought behind it. People are born in regions, we have family here, and our jobs are here. It’s not so easy to just pick up and move to a warmer climate because it’s cold and we hate shoveling.
But April has arrived and by most measures winter is over. That said, I think the next 10-14 days is going to be tough on you if you want warm spring weather. The jet stream will remain active and although the warm air might get close, the opportunity for cold rain and wet snow will continue. Although the overall trend will continue for increasing average temperatures and a decreasing chance of snow, the march to spring will be more like a shuffle.