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In like a lion, out like a lamb..not so much this March

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There’s a common seasonal phrase that states “April showers bring May flowers” but it begs the question, what does March bring?

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A month stuck between winter and spring, March has a whole other side of madness outside of college basketball in its indecisive weather.

A month that can’t decide whether to put on the sandals or snow boots, for now it appears that winter has been hushed in favor of warmer days — completely defying the Farmer’s Almanac prediction of a cold and snow-filled winter.

And while flip-flops, T-shirts and even a few bare legs were a welcome sight in Brainerd this week as temperatures in the area climbed up in to the 60s, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Duluth says you can’t count on this weather meaning ‘spring has sprung’ just yet.

“While the foreseeable future, especially over the next 10 days should remain above normal, we still have to remember where we live,” said NWS-Duluth metrologist Dave Melde.

“As of now March is looking to end pretty nice, but in Minnesota we can never count on that.”

Count on it our not, students with the week off from school were treated to true spring break vacation weather, a welcomed change for spring breakers choosing to travel north rather than south.

“When we booked the trip, we planned on bringing snow pants and boots but we’ve been pleasantly surprised with sunglasses and sand pails,” said Karen Leciejewski who along with her family — husband Tony and kids, Sidney, 5, and Tyler, 3 — took their spring break trip from the Twin Cities to Grand View Lodge March 14-17. “It feels like a real spring break vacation.”

Vacationers aren’t the only ones rejoicing. Brainerd Parks and Recreation director Tony Sailor said the sunshine also brought a boost to area parks, with an influx of people anxious to get outside and enjoy the weather.

“Usually when there’s been just one warm day, everyone wants to get out and play on the fields before they’re ready,” said Sailor, “this year it’s like ‘go play’ because we are ready with the constant warm weather we’ve been having.”

Sailor said this is the earliest Brainerd Parks and Recreation has done a lot of things in the parks including putting up tennis nets on March 12, the first time ever that they have been placed in the month of March.

He added that the warm weather opened up Mills Field for the Brainerd High School sophomore baseball team, and Memorial Park for the Brainerd High School freshman softball team, something that rarely happens with the typically prolonged winter.

Not the only ones who are getting eager for winter to melt away to warmer weather, Minnesota wildlife has made a jump on activity usually seen in April, too.

“What always concerns us (with warm weather this early) is our bird species that migrate back,” said Minnesota DNR Brainerd wildlife field officer Gary Drotts. “It’s not that big of a deal for our local wildlife but for birds, like Bluebirds, who think it’s time to come back, it creates a real problem.

“The odds that we are going to get cold again are fairly high, and then they get trapped here and we can see some minor losses in those species.”

Drotts said the losses — especially with Bluebirds where the males migrate before the females — can then affect the entire reproduction system, especially with this seemingly consistent warmer climate change Minnesota has been experiencing over the past few years.

Fish spawning is also being affected by the unusually warm temperatures according to Mark Bacigalupi, Brainerd area fisheries supervisor. Bacigalupi said the changes in water temperature and water levels — which are lower this year with lack of snow — can trigger the fish to start migrating to their spawning locations.

“Right now with the warm weather, we’re suggesting an earlier onset for our walleye intake that we conduct by the mouth of Whitefish Chain in the Pine River,” said Bacigalupi. “We can expect to see the spawning about a week earlier, so looking at the end of March, first week of April for the fish eggs to start showing up.”

But be it kid, parent, fish or bird, the biggest warm weather side effect is waiting to see how long it will last. Because the fact still remains that people call this “Minne-Snow-da” for a reason, and Melde reminds folks that it is still only March, and to not pack away the snow gear just yet.

“A few years ago we had a March just like this, where people got in overzealous in planting and thinking we were done with the cold,” Melde said. “And then we had a cool April and of course that threw everyone’s plans out of sync.

“We still have to remember where we live and the weather can change at any point in time.”

Bring on the March (weather) madness.

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5859 or jessi.pierce@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/jessi_pierce (@jessi_pierce).

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Jessi Pierce
Born: 9/28/1987 (age 24) High School: Mahtomedi High School (home of the Zephyrs) in Mahtomedi, Minn. College: Journalism and Mass Communications degree from Iowa State University (Class 2010) Passions: Sharing the story. I love getting to know people, and in particular this town as it is so new to me, and being able to share something about them with the public. That and sports, especially hockey and lacrosse. Follow me on Twitter @jessi_pierce (views on Twitter do not represent that of the Brainerd Dispatch)
(218) 855-5859
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