Now showing in Wisconsin, spring, summer, and winter

It’s quite possible you’re reading this blog entry while keeping the aloe in close proximity. Yes, the last 2 days have given us our first chance to get a real sunburn. Folks in southeast Wisconsin have reintroduced themselves to shorts and flip flops as temps soared to the 80s. Not far away such a thought is ludicrous. Lakes are frozen solid and another 6 to 9 inches of snow is in the forecast. So what is going on? How can this happen? The wide degree of weather experienced in Wisconsin this week is a perfect example of how spring’s jabs and pokes at winter can mean very little until a crushing blow is delivered.

For us, you may have noticed a profound change in the view around town over the last 7-10 days. The grass is now green, flowers are blooming, basically, things are coming back to life.  From April 22nd to April 30th we averaged a daytime high of 63°. Finally getting one mild stretch of weather allowed the ground to warm up and the +7” of rain of April showers to revive vegetation. But how can this contribute to warmer weather? It’s all about the dew point. As plants transpire water into the air our humidity and dew points increases. Since the temperature cannot drop below the dew point without getting rid of the water (condensing it into fog) our nights are milder and days hotter.

Up north they are still waiting for a stretch of decent weather to deliver the crushing blow to winter. As of Monday Pelican Lake outside of Rhinelander still has 13 inches of ice! Parts of northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Upper Michigan still have snow covering the ground. Land nearby that is not under a blanket of white (usually more of an ugly gray-white by now) is still frozen or too cold to wake the vegetation from its slumber. Even on a cloud free day a portion of the sun’s energy goes to unfreezing lakes and thawing the ground keeping the air temperature in check.

Heavy snow

Now does that mean we are certain to be free from any hint of winter around here until after fall? Of course not, but the fact that we warmed up and “greened” up at the end of April makes it much tougher for a sweeping cold front to reverse direction.

Now the question is, do I stick around here this weekend and enjoy some honest May weather, or do I head north for a rare post Tax Day ice fishing trip?