Have you enjoyed these recent days of spring-like sunshine? Neighbors have been working in the yard and getting garden supplies, taking walks or runs, or just getting outside to play. Daffodils are blooming and tulips are poking their heads out of the ground. The first day of spring is just around the corner. In fact, it is this Saturday!
To be precise, the spring equinox is early Saturday morning at 237 AM PDT, marking the start of spring. That is the moment when the sun is exactly over the equator as it slowly tracks northward to reach its northern most point on the summer solstice in mid-June. Recall, the earth maintains its tilt on its axis at about 23.5 degrees as it revolves around the sun each year, resulting in the fall and spring equinox, and the summer and winter solstice.
The days are getting longer, gaining about three and half minutes per day this month. That pace will slow as we head into April and May. With the change to daylight time, sunset is now well past 7 PM providing more evening daylight.
What does the weather outlook reveal for this spring and summer? Keep in mind that La Nina, El Nino or Neutral conditions have little impact on our warmer time of the year.
The latest National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center seasonal outlook indicates that as the spring proceeds, the trend will be toward warmer and drier than average conditions by late spring. Looking ahead to summer, those enhanced odds of warmer and drier conditions continue into September.
Thanks to the healthy mountain snowpack close to 120 percent of average as of March 15th, the start of the wildfire season will be delayed – likely into late July or early August. There should also be plenty of water for irrigation, fish, recreation, and consumption into this fall – all good news.
One down side to warmer longer days with the spring season though is pollen. Trees are the primary source of pollen for allergy sufferers right now. Soon grasses will contribute to the pollen supply.
Spring will ‘spring’ on Saturday. Over the next three months as we approach the summer solstice on June 20th, the days will continue to get longer, temperatures will get warmer, rain will turn to April showers, and the Tulip Festival will open next month in the Skagit Valley.