Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog saw his shadow today. That means six more weeks of winter instead of a month-and-a-half of frigid temps and snow. So it goes.
There is some additional meteorological information associated with this date that is more telling: The average daily temperatures in my Detroit Metro area has stopped falling and is beginning to slowly rise.
Although the amount of time the sun has been above the horizon has increased since the winter solstice on Dec.23–in fact we’ve already gained 30 minutes of sunlight per day since that date–the temperatures have continued to fall. Until today, that is. Beginning today, we start enjoying warmer temps in the southern part of Michigan. And in another week, so will my adopted town of Harrison in Michigan’s midsection. (Being a little further north with slightly shorter summers, it takes a little longer for that area’s average temperatures to begin their rise.)
But don’t put that winter coat away just yet. Unlike sunlight that increases by a minute or two (or three) each day, we are not so lucky in regards to outdoor temperatures. Since we are talking long-term averages, we will still have some horrendous bone-chilling cold snaps in the next month or two. But as my sainted mother used to say, “two steps forward and one step back,” as she would count down the days until spring. (Mom hated winter, by the way.)
I may be my mother’s son, but I hope winter doesn’t end too fast. I have yet to use my cross-country skis or strap on my snowshoes, either down here or up north. That means I want snow but also some seasonal temperatures and sunny days on which to use them.