Can someone tell me what happened to spring? One of the joys of living in the Northeast, especially here on Long Island, is the luxury of experiencing all four seasons. Each season sticks around for roughly 13 weeks, but when was the last time we got 13 days of spring? The winter of 2017-18 was especially brutal and lasted way past the scheduled March 21 cutoff.
Remember when America’s favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter on February 2? Looks like we got snookered, as we had one of the mildest February’s ever, averaging almost 40 degrees for the month and getting just a little over an inch of snow. I don’t know about you, but I was doing a happy dance when February was over, dreaming of Hawaiian shirts and drinks with little umbrellas in them. After the brutal temperatures of December and January, it looked like we were home free.
But March came in like a lion and went out like a Tasmanian Devil. It seemed like every day we were waking up to gloom and doom forecasts about snow and something called a “Polar Vortex.” By April Fool’s Day, we had accumulated almost 32 inches of snow when we normally get about five inches or so.
Very few days in April produced sunshine around here and we even got snow on April 2. There was no hint of spring, just the lingering effects of a winter that wouldn’t end. We are half-way through what the calendar defines as spring and you could count on one hand the number of light, breezy days we have had to walk the Jones Beach boardwalk without wearing a winter hat.
Our average daily temperature is supposed to increase about 10 degrees during the month of April, starting out at about 52 and moving into 62 by May 1. Yet, April of 2018 clocked in with 22 of the 30 days below normal temperature.
The baseball season was already two weeks old by the time I had the nerve to put my snow blower away. I don’t even think the birds have started their migrating journey back up north yet. Why would they? If I were a hibernating bear in the Northeast, I’d keep hitting that snooze button.
But as the calendar turned to May, we suddenly had 80-degree weather and bright sunshine. Where did that come from? How do you prepare for 53 on Monday and 87 on Thursday? My mother used to call this “doctor weather” because extreme changes in temperature often cause people to get sick.
Everyone loves summer, but my favorite seasons are spring and fall. I like temperatures in the 60s and 70s, and I especially love a nice breeze. Places like San Diego and San Francisco seem to have that weather all year round, but I don’t think I could live there. When “The Big One” hits, they are going to drop off into the Pacific Ocean.
The spring and fall are also relatively bug free. In the early spring, the AFIU (Annoying Flying Insect Union) hasn’t quite yet organized and by the time we get to the fall, they seem to be on an extended work slowdown before heading into their winter break.
Without a true spring season, I’m not sure I can make the shift from hats and scarves to flip-flops overnight. I need to transition. We can’t continue to ask our boilers to provide heat one day and then turn on the central air the next. I’d like to go from heat, to breezy open windows, to evening fans and then to air conditioning. I haven’t even taken the cover off my barbecue yet.
After the lengthy winter we just endured, it seems petty to complain about a few days in May that feel like July. Of all the seasons, spring has always been the wild-card. Sometimes we get a good one, sometimes we get a bad one. But lately, it seems like we just keep getting a short one.
If we are going to get cheated on spring, maybe we can negotiate with management and instead of adding extra weeks to winter, we can ask for extra weeks of summer? Anyone know the number for the AFIU rep?