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Calling all weather geeks



If it seems like I’m obsessed with the weather, that’s because I am. Can you blame me?

Truth be told, all gardeners—and many non-gardeners—are equally fascinated. I was searching for wisdom regarding the current March heat wave, and came upon the weather blog to end all weather blogs, especially if you’re interested in climate change and strange weather trivia. It's run by meterologist Paul Douglas.

Douglas, who writes for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, maintains several of his own weather sites, and makes national appearances as a weather expert, has been showing a map that documents over 1400 record highs across the country over the past few days. Temps are running 20 degrees higher than normal across the contiguous states, but especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Sorry, California and Seattle. Unlike the terse weather reports we tend to get from our local media, Douglas’s blog scrolls on seemingly endlessly, filled with interesting charts, images, graphics, and cartoons. Too bad he’s based in the Twin Cities; we could really use an über-weather site around here. Much more interesting than pondering the reasons by Mickey Kearns is running as a Republican.

According to Douglas, and the National Weather Service, the freakish March weather will be followed by a warmer than usual spring, but not necessarily a super hot summer. On Sunday, the balmy temps brought out the St. Pat's parade revelers at least three hours earlier than usual. By the time the parade started, the crowd at Allen and Delaware was virtually inpenetrable, while the parking lot parties had been in full gear since 10:30 a.m. In other words, Allentown was one big tailgate. It was expected, and, for the most part, tolerable. As long as the mess gets picked up.

Weather aficionadas of the gardener variety have been hearing all kinds of dire warnings regarding premature horticultural behavior, like “don’t rake your front yard yet!,” “don’t plant anything!,” ""frosts are coming!," and "we can still get snow!" I disagree. My advice is to get out there and plant whatever you can find. Do your spring clean-up. Rake off all those old leaves and excess mulch. Prune your roses and plant lily bulbs. Divide stuff if you want. What’s the point of strange weather if we can’t take advantage of it and experiment a little? If all goes well, you’ll be that much further ahead. If not, you’ll probably still be fine. The world will not end. At least not this year.

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