NO JOKE. While we’re fresh out of the Winter Severity Index (WSI) season, it seems like spring just doesn’t want to arrive. It’s an April Fools joke that will play out over the next two weeks, and those colored eggs should be easy to find today in the white drifts remaining. We look at the winter that was and what’s to come, as we wrap up the Dakota Edge Outdoors Winter Severity Index.
(Featured Photo: Beats Chocolate! A surprise of curly-tailed grubs await a young angler in a plastic Easter egg. Simonson Photo.)
DAILY CONDITIONS: WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Sun 4/1– Hoppy Easter. Hi 29, Lo 6, Winds SW@7.
Tomorrow: Mon 4/2 – More Snow (4″+) Hi 25, Lo 17, Winds NE@20, G30.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 7:22AM Sunset: 8:12PM
Moonrise: 9:41PM Moonset 8:20AM
Overhead: 2:31AM Underfoot: 2:55PM
Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous (99% Full)
EDGE HOUR: 8:00-9:00AM. Catch calm conditions and moonset just after sunrise for an extended early bite in the Edge Hour.
WHAT’S THAT WSI? Congratulations! You made it through winter (sort of?) With the close of March we wrap up our Dakota Edge Outdoors Winter Severity Index and keep an eye out for spring. While we came close to adding a chill point yesterday (3 above for the low) for touching zero, we added no points for temperature days in the last two weeks and only two for this final month. However, recent snowfalls have provided some late season stress for area wildlife, with groundcover exceeding 12 inches for eight days (in the Bismarck area), adding eight points in the middle of the month. This brings the WSI total to 54 for the season – the low end of Moderate on our scale.
Here’s How We Got Through Winter!
December: Cold Came At Christmas – No Snow. Temp Points: 8, Snow Points: 0.
January: Cold Start with Thaw, Light Snow. Temp Points: 14, Snow Points 0.
February: Colder Pattern, No Snow. Temp Points 17, Snow Points 0.
March: Like a Lion, Frequent Snow. Temp Points 2, Snow Points: 13.
WSI TOTAL: 54 out of a possible 162 points.
(DEO WSI Scale – Mild <50, Moderate 50-90, Difficult 91-140, Severe 141+.)
What does it all mean? While just an armchair, spitball estimate, our WSI (and others which might be more scientific) means this winter, in comparison to the average, was reasonable. With the lack of heavy snow cover for most of the season, populations of deer, pheasants and other resident wildlife were able to access thermal areas like cattail sloughs to keep warm and scratch out some sustenance from open fields and other food sources without much stress. The cold was more manageable due to the lack of snow, and wildlife should be in relatively good shape headed into spring – but where things go from here depend on this new pattern that’s setting up.
The nice part of this winter is that the worst came in March, and by “worst” none of the events were much more than 6-8 inches throughout the state at a time (ie: no 15-inch “wildlife killer” blizzards). With the high angle of the sun, even yesterday’s chilly temps in the teens brought some melting of residual piles on the sidewalk and curb after digging out, and that trend will continue, despite unseasonable highs mainly in the upper 20s and low 30s forecast for the near future. With more daylight and more melting, spring has to arrive – it’s just taking its time.
Now to see what spring will bring. The moisture is there, the pattern is cooler and possibly wetter. We’ve seen what a drought can do. Keep those fingers crossed and stay sharp.