LIKE A LION. We review our Winter Severity Index today, focusing on the continued cold and snowy conditions that the back half of winter has brought. We also turn our eyes to the end of the month and predict whether March will leave like a lamb as wildlife feel the sting of winter at the end of the season.
Featured Photo: Nelson Lake steams in the background of a wintry scene. Simonson Photo.
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Sat 3/16 – Sun Returns – Hi 33, Lo 18, Wind NW@13, G20
Tomorrow: Sun 3/17 – Lucky Day – Hi 32, Lo 16, Wind NW@9
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Moonrise Moonset Overhead Underfoot
2:26PM 5:18AM 10:21PM 9:51AM
Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous (75% Full)
EDGE HOUR: 7:30-8:30PM. Take sunset and calm winds today for your best bite in the Edge Hour.
Winter 2018-19 WSI Update
It’s been a tale of two winters, as the front half and its relatively mild, snow-free days allowed for easy access for hunters, and lots of habitat and low-stress scenarios for wildlife. But by late January and into February things shifted to more traditional conditions. At the 7/8 point of the season, we look back at the beast that has been the first part of March and come up with totals for our Winter Severity Index.
As a quick reminder, our WSI is an armchair measurement of how harsh winter is on area wildlife, for any day that hits 0 or less, or there are 10 inches or more of snow on the ground gets a point 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 28, we sat at 48 out of a possible 180 points, banking those early warm days against a cold month.
March continued that chilly trend, with 11 of the first 15 days hitting zero degrees or lower, as below-average temperatures persisted. Additionally, snow cover remained high, with more than 10 inches on the ground for 7 of the last 15 days, further inhibiting wildlife movement and restricting access to feeding areas and thermal cover and bringing our total to 66 for the Bismarck area. Obviously, recent snows focused on the eastern half of the state have made things more challenging there, and conditions have worsened for wildlife. We’ll close out the winter season in two weeks, and look ahead to what appears to be a welcome warm up.