ALMOST HOME(?) Welcome to March! It’s the start of meteorological spring, the month of shifting clocks, and hopefully massive melts. Though not out of the woods, we find ourselves at the three-quarters mark in our Winter Severity Index (WSI) and check out the numbers left in the wake of our bitter February.
Featured Photo: Draw Down. Significant snow and cold were hallmarks of the third month in DEO’s WSI, and habitat areas are filling in with little melting.
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Fri 3/1 – Snow Tapers – Hi 15, Lo -3, Wind NW@8
Tomorrow: Sat 3/2 – Cold Again – Hi -1, Lo -12, Wind NW@13, G18
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Moonrise Moonset Overhead Underfoot
4:49AM 1:46PM 9:17AM 9:41PM
Moon Phase: Waning Crescent (20% Full)
EDGE HOUR: 6:00-7:00PM. Sunset and temps in the teens will make for a nice evening on the ice starting with the Edge Hour.
WHAT’S THAT WSI? The bitter trend in February continued with temperatures well below normal. A continued cold bias seems to have taken up residency in the upper Midwest, and there’s still not much relief in sight. With additional snow that hasn’t melted, we’re keeping close tabs on the conditions that affect wildlife in ND through our WSI, to get an armchair estimate of how harsh this winter (Dec. 1 – Mar. 31) has been.
In order to do that, we give each day up to two points; on a day where the temperature hits 0 or less, or there are 10 inches or more of snow on the ground a point is awarded for each category. Our thresholds are: Mild <50 points, Moderate 50-90, Difficult 91-140, Severe 141+ out of a total of 242 possible points for the four-month period. As of Feb. 14, the score was 28 out of 154 points, a moderate winter.
The back stretch of February featured 11 days where the mercury hit zero degrees adding 11 points to the cold category for the end of the month. Additionally, ground cover hovered around 10 inches for much of the past two weeks, with nine days confirmed over the 25 cm mark.
Adding 20 points to our total brings us up to a score of 48 out of a possible 180, still a moderate winter due to the nice days banked in December and January. Don’t be fooled by the math though, as it’s just an armchair estimate and things are starting to get a bit stressful for upland birds and deer in our region, especially looking at the eastern half of the state. We’re waiting on a welcome warm-up, but will need a big event to break the current pattern. Stay tuned in the final month of our WSI and we’ll see what happens.