Snowpack

Greg Schechter [via Flickr]

Larry Weber notes that the February snows are, as usual, light and dry; not much has fallen in the past couple weeks.  The warm temps that gave way to the cold temps have created a crusty layer of snow on top of the deep snow pack.  While this is not so much fun for deer whose legs have to punch through it, it is great for lighter, smaller animals like the fox who now can walk across the top of it.

Finland Lakeland/Flickr

"Every step was squishy."

That's how Larry Weber described his own lake walk this past week. 

Luckily the ice is fundamentally thick enough not to break through, but it's covered with a layer of slush that does make travel difficult.

Larry wraps up a remarkable January (remarkable because it wasn't), ponders how warm it will actually get this weekend, reminisces about the -60 in Tower back on Feb. 2, 1996 and observes some signs of spring.

mwms1916/Flickr

It troubles Larry Weber that people call them "snowfleas."

Callum Wale on Unsplash

Our first-half-of-the-month-bears-no-resemblance-to-the-second-half-of-the-month pattern continues, with March setting a record of -19 at the onset and ending up with an average temperature in the 30s.

Will April be any less erratic?

Probably not.

In 2013, we had 51" (that's fifty-one INCHES) of snow in April; in 2010, we had NO snow in April, and in 1952, the National Weather Service says we hit a record high of 88 degrees April 27th.

Peter Stevens/Flickr

Piles of dispirited, dirty snow.  Sand and grit on roads and sidewalks.  Flotsam beached by the receeding snowpack.

But Larry Weber, like his beloved redpolls, has returned to the Northland like a harbinger of Spring, and he has a lot more cheerful signs of the season for us to look for.

Elizabeth Nicodemus/Flickr

It's March 1st, the first day of spring according to the meteorological calendar, and once upon a time (prior to 45 BCE), it was the first day of the year.

But call it what you want, if nocturnal animals like flying squirrels are wandering around in the middle of the day trying to find something to eat ... there are a lot of other hungry beasties out there.