Weather or Not: Last month of summer

WCCO Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer

One year ago, Old Man Winter had us begging for mercy. We had just wrapped up our snowiest February on record with 39 inches. And March came in like a lion with 5.6 inches of snow on the first of the month.

By March 6 – one year ago today – we still had 19 inches of snow on the ground. And we had a whopping high of 22 degrees. I will take today’s weather. I am seeing more and more of my yard with each passing day. It has also been relatively dry for the past three weeks. I wouldn’t put away the shovels or drain the snow blower yet, but you can relax and enjoy our nice, warm weekend.

Daylight Saving Time starts this Sunday at 2 a.m. Do you change your clocks the night before, or do you wait until you wake up Sunday morning? I try to do them the night before so I know the actual time when I wake up. I love how my cell phone updates automatically. I sure wish all of our clocks did that. Remember that we spring ahead one hour. I don’t like losing an hour of sleep this weekend – I know my wife and also my co-worker Amelia Santaniello really hate losing that sleep – but I will smile on Sunday when sunset doesn’t occur until 7:10 p.m. It’s also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. You obviously want to keep those batteries fresh for safety reasons. And there are few things worse than a chirping smoke detector waking you up in the middle of the night. Those batteries never fade during the day of course.

March is such a transitional month. Our average high increases 15 degrees by March 31. And Spring arrives at 10:49 p.m. on March 19. By then we will have roughly 12 hours of daylight and roughly 12 hours of darkness. Thus the name vernal equinox. When spring arrived last year, we were down to a trace of snow on the ground. That is hard to believe considering we had a base of 21 inches on March 2. However, let’s not forget that we’ve had two spring snowstorms the past two years with the flakes falling and accumulating in April. Ugh! Let’s hope for a snow-free spring this year.

I hope the kids have a wonderful spring break this month. And remember St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Take it easy on the green beer. If all goes well, March goes out as it came in…like a lamb. And maybe we will be enjoying green grass by the start of April.

Stillwater native Chris Shaffer is WCCO’s chief meteorologist.

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