Monday, March 5, 2012

Where was the winter?

A soaking rain and a series of mild, spring-like days has been enough to leave me wondering whether we will have winter at all this year. The winter rye grass in my lawn has perked up like a field of wheat, and the forsythia are blooming early, turning dull gray corners into bright yellow celebrations. Spring, the vernal equinox, is still two weeks away, so these daffodils and tree buds are out early.

Winter has been little more than a rumor this year. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's passed without a single bone-chilling day and without any snow or sleet. The past few years have given us at least one good snowfall, and 2010 gave us series of unusually heavy snowfalls, which thankfully did not remain on the ground very long.

But this year there has been little winter, and already it's time to mow the lawn, cut back the liriope, pull the weeds and feel the warmth of a spring day. I won't blame this on global warming or excess carbon dioxide. It's likely a fluke of the jet stream or other meteorological factors. Whatever the reason, it appears that North Carolina will miss out on seeing the landscape turn white this year. We'll still welcome the spring, enjoy the warmth and hope that a sudden late freeze doesn't wreak havoc with easily fooled early buds.

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