Sunday, March 25, 2012

Forget Farmville; I have a real garden to tend

The weather today is too nice for me to spend a lot of time blogging, which is why I've already cultivated my garden plot for the third time in eight days and mowed my lawn (with a push mower, which is better for both the enviroment and me) already today. In fact, eight days ago was the earliest I've weeded and today the earliest I've mowed since I moved to Michigan 23 years ago. According to the Detroit Free Press, I'm not alone.

Record-high March temperatures give metro Detroiters a jump-start on yard work
Spurred by sunshine and warm temperatures, metro Detroit residents are getting a jump on assorted outdoor chores such as raking leaves, pruning shrubs and trees and mowing lawns.

The increased activity has prompted several local municipalities to accelerate yard waste pickups in an effort to accommodate their industrious residents.
The article lists Madison Heights, Southfield, Sterling Heights, and Plymouth Township among the municipalities that have moved their yard pickup dates up. My town is not among them, as my bags of yard waste were not picked up on Friday. I'll have to wait until April for that to happen.

As for the cause of all this activity, how's the weather been lately?
The unseasonably warm weather that persisted during the past winter has continued with the arrival of spring as record temperatures were set last week. Detroit Metro Airport recorded just 26 inches of snowfall this season -- well below the normal average of 39.5 inches by Thursday, according to Joseph Clark, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.
The record-breaking streak of warm days for Detroit in March has continued through today, extending the record by a full week. That's impressive. I just have to remind myself that weather isn't climate, but so far southeast Michigan has had a full year of extreme weather, even if some of the extremes have been pleasant.

Is there any other good news as a result of the mild and short winter? Yes.
The reduction in snowfall this past winter translated into a savings of approximately $1.5 million to Oakland County taxpayers, as far as road salt usage and overtime were concerned, according to Road Commission spokesman Craig Bryson.
Of course, not everyone is happy, as you can read in Warm weather is headache for Michigan asparagus farms. The same concerns about a potential frost damaging early sprouting crops are also worrying fruit growers in the state.

Finally, I leave you all with the most recent weather report posted to WOOD-TV's YouTube channel, which mentions the possibility of frost after all this warm weather.

Welcome to Michigan. If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes. It will change.

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